Sinusoidal Signals

Sinusoids are an extremely important category of time-varying functions (or signals) and are used in many situations: In the electrical power industry sinusoids are the dominant signal used to transfer power. In communication systems (cellular telephones, radio signals, etc.) the so-called carrier signals are sinusoidal. Vibrations in mechanical systems are a common source of failure—the stresses caused by these vibrations are commonly analyzed in terms of sinusoids.

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Sinusoidal Sweep Signals

A sinusoidal sweep is a sinusoid whose frequency varies with time. Sinusoidal sweeps have practical applications in the testing of engineering systems. By applying a sinusoidal sweep to a system, we can measure the system's response to sinusoids of various frequencies. These measured responses can be used to predict the system's response to other inputs.

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Modulated Sinusoids

Modulated signals are composed of a carrier signal which is modified in some way based on another signal, generally called the baseband signal. The baseband signal refers to the original range of a signal before it is modulated to a different frequency range. Two primary modulation approaches are amplitude modulation and frequency modulation.

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Observing Waveforms

Oscilloscope Triggering

Oscilloscope triggering allows us to assign a “zero time” to a particular feature on the signal. That feature gets placed on the same point on the plot window every time the oscilloscope screen updates; if the signal repeats itself based on this feature, the oscilloscope will display the same section of the signal every time the screen updates, making the signal appear to be unchanging.

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