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In electronics, the figures of merit of an amplifier are numerical measures that characterize its properties and performance. Figures of merit can be given as a list of specifications that include properties such as gain, bandwidth, noise and linearity, among others.

  • Gain - The gain of an amplifier is the ratio of output to input power or amplitude, and is usually measured in decibels. 
  • Bandwidth - The bandwidth of an amplifier is the range of frequencies for which the amplifier gives "satisfactory performance".
  • Efficiency  -Efficiency is a measure of how much of the power source is usefully applied to the amplifier's output.
  • Linearity - An ideal amplifier would be a totally linear device, but real amplifiers are only linear within limits.  When the signal drive to the amplifier is increased, the output also increases until a point is reached where some part of the amplifier becomes saturated and cannot produce any more output; this is called clipping, and results in distortion.
  • Noise - This is a measure of how much noise is introduced in the amplification process. Noise is an undesirable but inevitable product of the electronic devices and components; also, much noise results from intentional economies of manufacture and design time. 
  • Output dynamic range - Output dynamic range is the range, usually given in dB, between the smallest and largest useful output levels. The lowest useful level is limited by output noise, while the largest is limited most often by distortion. In many switched mode amplifiers, dynamic range is limited by the minimum output step size.



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Signal Amplifiers

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