Linear circuit

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A linear circuit is an electronic circuit which obeys the superposition principle. [1] [2] [3] This means that the output of the circuit F(x) when a linear combination of signals ax1(t) + bx2(t) is applied to it is equal to the linear combination of the outputs due to the signals x1(t) and x2(t) applied separately:

Electronic circuit electrical circuit with active components such as transistors, valves and integrated circuits; electrical network that contains active electronic components, generally nonlinear and require complex design and analysis tools

An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic components, such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, inductors and diodes, connected by conductive wires or traces through which electric current can flow. To be referred to as electronic, rather than electrical, generally at least one active component must be present. The combination of components and wires allows various simple and complex operations to be performed: signals can be amplified, computations can be performed, and data can be moved from one place to another.

Superposition principle fundamental physics principle stating that physical solutions of linear systems are linear

The superposition principle, also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear systems, the net response caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually. So that if input A produces response X and input B produces response Y then input produces response.

Signal varying physical quantity that conveys information

In communication systems, signal processing, and electrical engineering, a signal is a function that "conveys information about the behavior or attributes of some phenomenon". In its most common usage, in electronics and telecommunication, this is a time varying voltage, current or electromagnetic wave used to carry information. A signal may also be defined as an "observable change in a quantifiable entity". In the physical world, any quantity exhibiting variation in time or variation in space is potentially a signal that might provide information on the status of a physical system, or convey a message between observers, among other possibilities. The IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing states that the term "signal" includes audio, video, speech, image, communication, geophysical, sonar, radar, medical and musical signals. In a later effort of redefining a signal, anything that is only a function of space, such as an image, is excluded from the category of signals. Also, it is stated that a signal may or may not contain any information.

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It is called a linear circuit because the output of such a circuit is a linear function of its inputs. [1] [2] [3] An equivalent definition is that a linear circuit is a circuit in which, when a sinusoidal input voltage or current of frequency f is applied, any steady-state output of the circuit (the current through any component, or the voltage between any two points) is also sinusoidal with frequency f. [1] [4]

In mathematics, the term linear function refers to two distinct but related notions:

Sine wave Mathematical curve that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation; continuous wave

A sine wave or sinusoid is a mathematical curve that describes a smooth periodic oscillation. A sine wave is a continuous wave. It is named after the function sine, of which it is the graph. It occurs often in pure and applied mathematics, as well as physics, engineering, signal processing and many other fields. Its most basic form as a function of time (t) is:

Voltage difference in the electric potential between two points in space

Voltage, electric potential difference, electric pressure or electric tension is the difference in electric potential between two points. The difference in electric potential between two points in a static electric field is defined as the work needed per unit of charge to move a test charge between the two points. In the International System of Units, the derived unit for voltage is named volt. In SI units, work per unit charge is expressed as joules per coulomb, where 1 volt = 1 joule per 1 coulomb. The official SI definition for volt uses power and current, where 1 volt = 1 watt per 1 ampere. This definition is equivalent to the more commonly used 'joules per coulomb'. Voltage or electric potential difference is denoted symbolically by V, but more often simply as V, for instance in the context of Ohm's or Kirchhoff's circuit laws.

Informally, a linear circuit is one in which the electronic components' values (such as resistance, capacitance, inductance, gain, etc.) do not change with the level of voltage or current in the circuit. Linear circuits are important because they can amplify and process electronic signals without distortion. An example of an electronic device that uses linear circuits is a sound system.

Electronic component basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields

An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic components are mostly industrial products, available in a singular form and are not to be confused with electrical elements, which are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electronic components.

Capacitance ability of a body to store an electrical charge

Capacitance is the ratio of the change in an electric charge in a system to the corresponding change in its electric potential. There are two closely related notions of capacitance: self capacitance and mutual capacitance. Any object that can be electrically charged exhibits self capacitance. A material with a large self capacitance holds more electric charge at a given voltage than one with low capacitance. The notion of mutual capacitance is particularly important for understanding the operations of the capacitor, one of the three elementary linear electronic components.

Inductance electrical property


In electromagnetism and electronics, inductance describes the tendency of an electrical conductor, such as coil, to oppose a change in the electric current through it. The change in current induces a reverse electromotive force (voltage). When an electric current flows through a conductor, it creates a magnetic field around that conductor. A changing current, in turn, creates a changing magnetic field, the surface integral of which is known as magnetic flux. From Faraday's law of induction, any change in magnetic flux through a circuit induces an electromotive force (voltage) across that circuit, a phenomenon known as electromagnetic induction. Inductance, , is defined as the ratio between this induced voltage, , and the rate of change of the current in the circuit.

Linear and nonlinear components

A linear circuit is one that has no nonlinear electronic components in it. [1] [2] [3] Examples of linear circuits are amplifiers, differentiators, and integrators, linear electronic filters, or any circuit composed exclusively of ideal resistors, capacitors, inductors, op-amps (in the "non-saturated" region), and other "linear" circuit elements.

In mathematics and science, a nonlinear system is a system in which the change of the output is not proportional to the change of the input. Nonlinear problems are of interest to engineers, biologists, physicists, mathematicians, and many other scientists because most systems are inherently nonlinear in nature. Nonlinear dynamical systems, describing changes in variables over time, may appear chaotic, unpredictable, or counterintuitive, contrasting with much simpler linear systems.

Amplifier electronic device that can increase the power of a signal

An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power of a signal. It is a two-port electronic circuit that uses electric power from a power supply to increase the amplitude of a signal applied to its input terminals, producing a proportionally greater amplitude signal at its output. The amount of amplification provided by an amplifier is measured by its gain: the ratio of output voltage, current, or power to input. An amplifier is a circuit that has a power gain greater than one.

In electronics, a differentiator is a circuit that is designed such that the output of the circuit is approximately directly proportional to the rate of change of the input. An active differentiator includes some form of amplifier. A passive differentiator circuit is made of only resistors and capacitors.

Some examples of nonlinear electronic components are: diodes, transistors, and iron core inductors and transformers when the core is saturated. Some examples of circuits that operate in a nonlinear way are mixers, modulators, rectifiers, radio receiver detectors and digital logic circuits.

Diode electronic component

A diode is a two-terminal electronic component that conducts current primarily in one direction ; it has low resistance in one direction, and high resistance in the other. A diode vacuum tube or thermionic diode is a vacuum tube with two electrodes, a heated cathode and a plate, in which electrons can flow in only one direction, from cathode to plate. A semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material with a p–n junction connected to two electrical terminals. Semiconductor diodes were the first semiconductor electronic devices. The discovery of asymmetric electrical conduction across the contact between a crystalline mineral and a metal was made by German physicist Ferdinand Braun in 1874. Today, most diodes are made of silicon, but other materials such as gallium arsenide and germanium are used.

Transistor semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power

A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

A magnetic core is a piece of magnetic material with a high magnetic permeability used to confine and guide magnetic fields in electrical, electromechanical and magnetic devices such as electromagnets, transformers, electric motors, generators, inductors, magnetic recording heads, and magnetic assemblies. It is made of ferromagnetic metal such as iron, or ferrimagnetic compounds such as ferrites. The high permeability, relative to the surrounding air, causes the magnetic field lines to be concentrated in the core material. The magnetic field is often created by a current-carrying coil of wire around the core.

Significance

Linear circuits are important because they can process analog signals without introducing intermodulation distortion. This means that separate frequencies in the signal stay separate and do not mix, creating new frequencies (heterodynes).

An analog signal is any continuous signal for which the time-varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal. For example, in an analog audio signal, the instantaneous voltage of the signal varies continuously with the pressure of the sound waves. It differs from a digital signal, in which the continuous quantity is a representation of a sequence of discrete values which can only take on one of a finite number of values. The term analog signal usually refers to electrical signals; however, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, human speech, and other systems may also convey or be considered analog signals.

Heterodyne electronic oscillator

Heterodyning is a signal processing technique invented by Canadian inventor-engineer Reginald Fessenden that creates new frequencies by combining or mixing two frequencies. Heterodyning is used to shift one frequency range into another, new one, and is also involved in the processes of modulation and demodulation. The two frequencies are combined in a nonlinear signal-processing device such as a vacuum tube, transistor, or diode, usually called a mixer. In the most common application, two signals at frequencies f1 and f2 are mixed, creating two new signals, one at the sum f1 + f2 of the two frequencies, and the other at the difference f1 − f2. These are heterodyne frequencies. Typically only one of the new frequencies is desired, and the other signal is filtered out of the output of the mixer. Heterodyne frequencies are related to the phenomenon of "beats" in acoustics.

They are also easier to understand and analyze. Because they obey the superposition principle, linear circuits are governed by linear differential equations, and can be analyzed with powerful mathematical frequency domain techniques, including Fourier analysis and the Laplace transform. These also give an intuitive understanding of the qualitative behavior of the circuit, characterizing it using terms such as gain, phase shift, resonant frequency, bandwidth, Q factor, poles, and zeros. The analysis of a linear circuit can often be done by hand using a scientific calculator.

In contrast, nonlinear circuits usually do not have closed form solutions. They must be analyzed using approximate numerical methods by electronic circuit simulation computer programs such as SPICE, if accurate results are desired. The behavior of such linear circuit elements as resistors, capacitors, and inductors can be specified by a single number (resistance, capacitance, inductance, respectively). In contrast, a nonlinear element's behavior is specified by its detailed transfer function, which may be given by a curved line on a graph. So specifying the characteristics of a nonlinear circuit requires more information than is needed for a linear circuit.

"Linear" circuits and systems form a separate category within electronic manufacturing. Manufacturers of transistors and integrated circuits often divide their product lines into 'linear' and 'digital' lines. "Linear" here means "analog"; the linear line includes integrated circuits designed to process signals linearly, such as op-amps, audio amplifiers, and active filters, as well as a variety of signal processing circuits that implement nonlinear analog functions such as logarithmic amplifiers, analog multipliers, and peak detectors.

Small signal approximation

Nonlinear elements such as transistors tend to behave linearly when small AC signals are applied to them. So in analyzing many circuits where the signal levels are small, for example those in TV and radio receivers, nonlinear elements can be replaced with a linear small-signal model, allowing linear analysis techniques to be used.

Conversely, all circuit elements, even "linear" elements, show nonlinearity as the signal level is increased. If nothing else, the power supply voltage to the circuit usually puts a limit on the magnitude of voltage output from a circuit. Above that limit, the output ceases to scale in magnitude with the input, failing the definition of linearity.

See also

Related Research Articles

Electrical network interconnection of electrical components or a model of such an interconnection, consisting of electrical elements

An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical components or a model of such an interconnection, consisting of electrical elements. An electrical circuit is a network consisting of a closed loop, giving a return path for the current. Linear electrical networks, a special type consisting only of sources, linear lumped elements, and linear distributed elements, have the property that signals are linearly superimposable. They are thus more easily analyzed, using powerful frequency domain methods such as Laplace transforms, to determine DC response, AC response, and transient response.

Capacitive coupling

Capacitive coupling is the transfer of energy within an electrical network or between distant networks by means of displacement current between circuit(s) nodes, induced by the electric field. This coupling can have an intentional or accidental effect.

Electrical elements are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electrical components, such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, used in the analysis of electrical networks. All electrical networks can be analyzed as multiple electrical elements interconnected by wires. Where the elements roughly correspond to real components the representation can be in the form of a schematic diagram or circuit diagram. This is called a lumped element circuit model. In other cases infinitesimal elements are used to model the network in a distributed element model.

Negative-feedback amplifier

A Negative-feedback amplifier is an electronic amplifier that subtracts a fraction of its output from its input, so that negative feedback opposes the original signal. The applied negative feedback can improve its performance and reduces sensitivity to parameter variations due to manufacturing or environment. Because of these advantages, many amplifiers and control systems use negative feedback.

Analog signal processing is a type of signal processing conducted on continuous analog signals by some analog means. "Analog" indicates something that is mathematically represented as a set of continuous values. This differs from "digital" which uses a series of discrete quantities to represent signal. Analog values are typically represented as a voltage, electric current, or electric charge around components in the electronic devices. An error or noise affecting such physical quantities will result in a corresponding error in the signals represented by such physical quantities.

Frequency mixer nonlinear electrical circuit that creates new frequencies from two signals applied to it

In electronics, a mixer, or frequency mixer, is a nonlinear electrical circuit that creates new frequencies from two signals applied to it. In its most common application, two signals are applied to a mixer, and it produces new signals at the sum and difference of the original frequencies. Other frequency components may also be produced in a practical frequency mixer.

Common emitter

In electronics, a common-emitter amplifier is one of three basic single-stage bipolar-junction-transistor (BJT) amplifier topologies, typically used as the voltage amplifier.

Voltage-controlled oscillator

A voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) is an electronic oscillator whose oscillation frequency is controlled by a voltage input. The applied input voltage determines the instantaneous oscillation frequency. Consequently, a VCO can be used for frequency modulation (FM) or phase modulation (PM) by applying a modulating signal to the control input. A VCO is also an integral part of a phase-locked loop.

A network, in the context of electronics, is a collection of interconnected components. Network analysis is the process of finding the voltages across, and the currents through, every component in the network. There are many different techniques for calculating these values. However, for the most part, the applied technique assumes that the components of the network are all linear. The methods described in this article are only applicable to linear network analysis, except where explicitly stated.

A Colpitts oscillator, invented in 1918 by American engineer Edwin H. Colpitts, is one of a number of designs for LC oscillators, electronic oscillators that use a combination of inductors (L) and capacitors (C) to produce an oscillation at a certain frequency. The distinguishing feature of the Colpitts oscillator is that the feedback for the active device is taken from a voltage divider made of two capacitors in series across the inductor.

In electrical engineering and science, an equivalent circuit refers to a theoretical circuit that retains all of the electrical characteristics of a given circuit. Often, an equivalent circuit is sought that simplifies calculation, and more broadly, that is a simplest form of a more complex circuit in order to aid analysis. In its most common form, an equivalent circuit is made up of linear, passive elements. However, more complex equivalent circuits are used that approximate the nonlinear behavior of the original circuit as well. These more complex circuits often are called macromodels of the original circuit. An example of a macromodel is the Boyle circuit for the 741 operational amplifier.

Linear electronic oscillator circuits, which generate a sinusoidal output signal, are composed of an amplifier and a frequency selective element, a filter. A linear oscillator circuit which uses an RC network, a combination of resistors and capacitors, for its frequency selective part is called an RC oscillator.

In electronics, a frequency multiplier is an electronic circuit that generates an output signal whose output frequency is a harmonic (multiple) of its input frequency. Frequency multipliers consist of a nonlinear circuit that distorts the input signal and consequently generates harmonics of the input signal. A subsequent bandpass filter selects the desired harmonic frequency and removes the unwanted fundamental and other harmonics from the output.

Small-signal modeling is a common analysis technique in electronics engineering which is used to approximate the behavior of electronic circuits containing nonlinear devices with linear equations. It is applicable to electronic circuits in which the AC signals, the time-varying currents and voltages in the circuit, have a small magnitude compared to the DC bias currents and voltages. A small-signal model is an AC equivalent circuit in which the nonlinear circuit elements are replaced by linear elements whose values are given by the first-order (linear) approximation of their characteristic curve near the bias point.

Electronic filter electronic circuit that removes unwanted components from the signal, or enhances wanted ones, or both

Electronic filters are circuits which perform signal processing functions, specifically to remove unwanted frequency components from the signal, to enhance wanted ones, or both. Electronic filters can be:

Parasitic capacitance, or stray capacitance is an unavoidable and usually unwanted capacitance that exists between the parts of an electronic component or circuit simply because of their proximity to each other. When two electrical conductors at different voltages are close together, the electric field between them causes electric charge to be stored on them; this effect is parasitic capacitance. All actual circuit elements such as inductors, diodes, and transistors have internal capacitance, which can cause their behavior to depart from that of 'ideal' circuit elements. Additionally, there is always non-zero capacitance between any two conductors; this can be significant at higher frequencies with closely spaced conductors, such as wires or printed circuit board traces.

Biasing in electronics means establishing predetermined voltages or currents at various points of an electronic circuit for the purpose of establishing proper operating conditions in electronic components. Many electronic devices such as diodes, transistors and vacuum tubes, whose function is processing time-varying (AC) signals also require a steady (DC) current or voltage to operate correctly — a bias. The AC signal applied to them is superposed on this DC bias current or voltage. The operating point of a device, also known as bias point, quiescent point, or Q-point, is the DC voltage or current at a specified terminal of an active device with no input signal applied. A bias circuit is a portion of the device's circuit which supplies this steady current or voltage.

Load line (electronics) graphical analysis tool for electronic circuit engineering

In graphical analysis of nonlinear electronic circuits, a load line is a line drawn on the characteristic curve, a graph of the current vs. the voltage in a nonlinear device like a diode or transistor. It represents the constraint put on the voltage and current in the nonlinear device by the external circuit. The load line, usually a straight line, represents the response of the linear part of the circuit, connected to the nonlinear device in question. The points where the characteristic curve and the load line intersect are the possible operating point(s) of the circuit; at these points the current and voltage parameters of both parts of the circuit match.

Power amplifier classes are, in electronics, letter symbols applied to different power amplifier types. The class gives a broad indication of an amplifer's characteristics and performance. The classes are related to the time period that the active amplifier device is passing current, expressed as a fraction of the period of a signal waveform applied to the input. A class A amplifier is conducting through all the period of the signal; Class B only for one-half the input period, class C for much less than half the input period. A Class D amplifier operates its output device in a switching manner; the fraction of the time that the device is conducting is adjusted so a pulse width modulation output is obtained from the stage.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Maas, Stephen A. (2003). Nonlinear Microwave and RF Circuits. Artech House. p. 2. ISBN   9781580536110.
  2. 1 2 3 Wing, Omar (2008). Classical Circuit Theory. Springer Science and Business Media. pp. 12–14. ISBN   9780387097404.
  3. 1 2 3 Chen, Wai Kai (2004). The Electrical Engineering Handbook. Elsevier. pp. 4, 12, 75–76. ISBN   9780080477480.
  4. Zumbahlen, Hank (2008). Linear circuit design handbook. Newnes. ISBN   0-7506-8703-7.