Copeland, Miles A. Faculty of Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- Additional Readings
A condition that is generic to all physical systems that use the amplification of signals, power, or energy in various forms. Electrical circuits are perhaps the best-known example because the use of amplification is very common there. In order for instability to occur, a closed (circular) path must exist, and the net amplification around it must be sufficiently large that any random signal (for example, noise) that travels around the closed path grows uncontrollably. The condition is eventually limited by some physical aspect of the system such as nonlinearity, saturation, or power available. The energy to create the uncontrollable signal growth is obtained by conversion from some other form of energy. For example, a high-frequency electrical oscillation can draw its energy from a direct- current (dc) power supply. See also: Energy; Linearity; Saturation
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