oscillator

/os"euh lay'teuhr/, n.
1. Electronics. a circuit that produces an alternating output current of a certain frequency determined by the characteristics of the circuit components.
2. a device or machine producing oscillations.
3. a person or thing that oscillates.
[1825-35; < NL, equiv. to L oscilla(re) to swing (see OSCILLATE) + -tor -TOR]

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Mechanical or electronic device that produces a back-and-forth periodic motion.

A pendulum is a simple mechanical oscillator that swings with a constant amplitude, requiring the addition of energy at each swing only to compensate for the energy lost because of air resistance or friction. In electronic oscillators, electrons oscillate with a constant period and also require the addition of energy to replace energy loss. Electronic oscillators are used to generate alternating current and high-frequency currents for carrier waves in radio broadcasting. They are incorporated in a wide variety of electronic equipment.

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      any of various electronic devices that produce alternating electric current, commonly employing tuned circuits and amplifying components such as thermionic vacuum tubes. Oscillators used to generate high-frequency currents for carrier waves in radio broadcasting often are stabilized by coupling the electronic circuit with the vibrations of a piezoelectric crystal, usually quartz.

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Universalium. 2010.

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