Operational Amplifiers

Written by Kevin Little
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Operational amplifiers are most commonly used in audio settings. Of course, since so many different audio systems make use of such devices, it would be difficult for any other field to lay claim to such widespread use of "op-amps." These circuits are bounded only by the systems that surround them, such is their ingenious design.

Operational amplifiers have an incredible range of applications. Much of this is due to the fact that they are so flexible in terms of their capacity. These items can transmit infinite amounts of gain (signal strength) and input impedance (signal blocking), while reducing output impedance to nothing at all. Such unlimited range, of course, dictates that the potential of these devices is never actually reached. The circuit is naturally limited by the amount of power flowing through it.

The Popularity of Operational Amplifiers

Operational amplifiers were first conceived of in 1943, and the first versions produced in 1952 by George A. Philbrick Researches, Inc. These devices really began to gain in popularity in the 1970s. Since that time, many more versions of this device have been designed and manufactured, all of them making claims of superior performance in one area or another.

Such a glut of op-amps has made the market for them incredibly varied--and incredibly complex. When choosing an op-amp, research is necessary in order to find the product that best fits your particular system. Many useful specification lists can be found on the Internet for easy comparison of different versions of this amazing device.


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