What is a logarithmic amplifier?

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A logarithmic amplifier is used to identify any changes in the input signal of a circuit and correct them. The logarithmic amplifier corrects for changes by converting the register input to a constant output voltage. Also known as a log amplifier, these types of electrical components have been used for years in electrical circuits for compressing input signals as well as maintaining a stable signal in signal computation.

Today, logarithmic amplifiers are often used in measuring or testing devices. “Logarithmic amplifiers”, as a logarithmic amplifier is often called by technical operators familiar with them, also have many uses in medical device and video circuit applications. Finally, they are frequently used as well in fiber optic and wireless devices.

The fiber optic cable and electronics industries began using log amplifiers in the 1990s to measure and maintain signal strength across the entire optical circuit after technology advanced to the point where the use of these once bulky and expensive devices became technologically and economically efficient. Prior to the 1990s, log amplifiers were expensive because they were typically difficult to produce. Advances in technology, however, have allowed for much more efficient production, decreasing the size and therefore making them easier to apply. There are now three different types of logarithmic amplifier products.

The first and simplest form is known as a DC log amplifier. DC register amplifiers are strictly unipolar circuits, meaning they maintain either the current or the voltage of an input signal, but never both. Typically, these types of register amps are used in fiber-based systems as a means of measuring signal strength within the system. They are not unique to fiber circuits, however. DC log amplifiers are also used in devices in the fields of medical and biological research, primarily in units designed to process biological and chemical sample parts.

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The other two log amplifiers are called baseband and demodulation, and each has its own specific usage frame. Baseband, for example, is often used to compress the rapidly changing signals used to power many AC-powered audio or video processing devices, while also compressing them to make them constant. On the other hand, demodulation register amplifiers are mostly used in signal transmission devices as a means of measuring the output signal supplied to the transmitting unit.

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