A crystal oscillator is a component that is capable of generating an electric signal through the use of a frequency, often being employed for the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material. Found in applications ranging from wristwatches to digital integrated circuit assemblies, crystal oscillators may be used for maintaining timing, providing a stable clock signal, and more. In this blog, we will discuss crystal oscillators and their functionality, allowing you to better understand their common uses in diverse settings.
For the operations of the crystal oscillator, a piezoelectric resonator must be used. Quartz crystal is the most common type due to its ability to create a voltage that is proportional to the mechanical pressure that is applied to it. As the voltage causes distortion, an additional voltage is induced so that the crystal vibrates at its natural frequency.
Operating on the principle of the inverse piezoelectric effect, induced electric fields will cause mechanical deformation. By taking advantage of the mechanical resonance of the vibrating crystal, an electrical signal exhibiting a specific frequency may be produced. While small and fairly cheap to procure, quartz crystal oscillators are known for their high stability and good quality factor. As a result, they are often depended upon over similar variations such as LC circuits, turning forks, and other resonators.
With their operations, a crystal oscillator may be used for many types of applications. Within microprocessor and microcontroller assemblies, as an example, the crystal oscillator may be used for providing clock signals. As such, operational characteristics such as cycle rates can be set and maintained for synchronization and the optimal functionality of different systems.
Depending on one’s needs, there are various types of crystal oscillators, each of which present their own unique characteristics and qualities. Colpitts crystal oscillators are capable of producing sinusoidal output signals with frequencies that are very high, allowing them to excel in applications such as temperature sensors. As radio-frequency oscillators, such components may be used for the development of mobile communications and radio communications.
The Armstrong crystal oscillator was a type that was popular prior to World War II, often being used in regenerative radio receivers. With the use of additional winding, radio frequency signals sourced from the antenna could be magnetically coupled into the tank circuit. Meanwhile, control over the feedback loop could be attained by decreasing feedback.
Crystal oscillators also find use in other diverse fields, presenting the ability to create efficient communication systems that are highly beneficial to military and aerospace operations. Through the use of such components, communication systems and guidance systems may be created. Additionally, research and measurement applications highly rely on oscillators, allowing for celestial navigation, space tracking, measurement, and medical devices to function as intended.
Lastly, many industrial applications are dependent on crystal oscillator components, including computers, digital systems, instrumentation, and various electrical circuit & integrated circuit assemblies. Finding implementation in systems ranging from consumer goods to military apparatuses, one can see the great importance of crystal oscillators. Whenever you find yourself in need of crystal oscillator components or other various electronic parts, there is no better alternative to AOG Unlimited.
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