Browse Definitions :
Definition

amplifier

An amplifier is an electronic device that increases the voltage, current, or power of a signal. Amplifiers are used in wireless communications and broadcasting, and in audio equipment of all kinds. They can be categorized as either weak-signal amplifiers or power amplifiers.

Weak-signal amplifiers are used primarily in wireless receivers. They are also employed in acoustic pickups, audio tape players, and compact disc players. A weak-signal amplifier is designed to deal with exceedingly small input signals, in some cases measuring only a few nanovolts (units of 10-9 volt). Such amplifiers must generate minimal internal noise while increasing the signal voltage by a large factor. The most effective device for this application is the field-effect transistor. The specification that denotes the effectiveness of a weak-signal amplifier is sensitivity, defined as the number of microvolts (units of 10-6 volt) of signal input that produce a certain ratio of signal output to noise output (usually 10 to 1).

Power amplifiers are used in wireless transmitters, broadcast transmitters, and hi-fi audio equipment. The most frequently-used device for power amplification is the bipolar transistor. However, vacuum tubes, once considered obsolete, are becoming increasingly popular, especially among musicians. Many professional musicians believe that the vacuum tube (known as a "valve" in England) provides superior fidelity.

Two important considerations in power amplification are power output and efficiency. Power output is measured in watts or kilowatts. Efficiency is the ratio of signal power output to total power input (wattage demanded of the power supply or battery). This value is always less than 1. It is typically expressed as a percentage. In audio applications, power amplifiers are 30 to 50 percent efficient. In wireless communications and broadcasting transmitters, efficiency ranges from about 50 to 70 percent. In hi-fi audio power amplifiers, distortion is also an important factor. This is a measure of the extent to which the output waveform is a faithful replication of the input waveform. The lower the distortion, in general, the better the fidelity of the output sound.

This was last updated in September 2005
SearchCompliance
  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...

SearchSecurity
  • hacker

    A hacker is an individual who uses computer, networking or other skills to overcome a technical problem.

  • Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)

    The Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) is a protocol for wireless networks that expands the authentication methods used by ...

  • session key

    A session key is an encryption and decryption key that is randomly generated to ensure the security of a communications session ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

SearchStorage
  • cloud storage

    Cloud storage is a service model in which data is transmitted and stored on remote storage systems, where it is maintained, ...

  • cloud testing

    Cloud testing is the process of using the cloud computing resources of a third-party service provider to test software ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

Close