# Oscillators: pulsed oscillators, harmonics and frequency multiplication.

PULSED OSCILLATORS

A sinusoidal (sine-wave) oscillator is one that will produce output pulses at a predetermined frequency for an indefinite period of time; that is, it operates continuously. Many electronic circuits in equipment such as radar require that an oscillator be turned on for a specific period of time and that it remain in an off condition until required at a later time. These circuits are referred to as PULSED OSCILLATORS or RINGING OSCILLATORS. They are nothing more than sine-wave oscillators that are turned on and off at specific times.

Figure 2-25, view (A), shows a pulsed oscillator with the resonant tank in the emitter circuit. A positive input makes Q1 conduct heavily and current flow through L1; therefore no oscillations can take place. A negative-going input pulse (referred to as a gate) cuts off Q1, and the tank oscillates until the gate ends or until the ringing stops, whichever comes first.

The waveforms in view (B) show the relationship of the input gate and the output signal from the pulsed oscillator. To see how this circuit operates, assume that the Q of the LC tank circuit is high enough to prevent damping. An output from the circuit is obtained when the input gate goes negative (T0 to T1 and T2 to T3). The remainder of the time (T1 to T2) the transistor conducts heavily and there is no output from the circuit. The width of the input gate controls the time for the output signal. Making the gate wider causes the output to be present (or ring) for a longer time.

###### Frequency of a Pulsed Oscillator

The frequency of a pulsed oscillator is determined by both the input gating signal and the resonant frequency of the tank circuit. When a sinusoidal oscillator is resonant at 1 megahertz, the output is 1 million cycles per second. In the case of a pulsed oscillator, the number of cycles present in the output is determined by the gating pulse width.

If a 1-megahertz oscillator is cut off for 1/2 second, or 50 percent of the time, then the output is 500,000 cycles at the 1 -megahertz rate. In other words, the frequency of the tank circuit is still 1 megahertz, but the oscillator is only allowed to produce 500,000 cycles each second.

The output frequency can be determined by controlling how long the tank circuit will oscillate. For example, suppose a negative input gate of 500 microseconds and a positive input gate of 999,500 microseconds (total of 1 second) are applied. The transistor will be cut off for 500 microseconds and the tank circuit will oscillate for that 500 microseconds, producing an output signal. The transistor will then conduct for 999,500 microseconds and the tank circuit will not oscillate during that time period. The 500 microseconds that the tank circuit is allowed to oscillate will allow only 500 cycles of the 1-megahertz tank frequency.

You can easily check this frequency by using the following formula:

One cycle of the 1-megahertz resonant frequency is equal to 1 microsecond.

Then, by dividing the time for 1 cycle (1 microsecond) into gate length (500 microseconds), you will get the number of cycles (500).

There are several different varieties of pulsed oscillators for different applications. The schematic diagram shown in figure 2-25, view (A), is an emitter-loaded pulsed oscillator. The tank circuit can be placed in the collector circuit, in which case it is referred to as a collector-loaded pulsed oscillator. The difference between the emitter-loaded and the collector-loaded oscillator is in the output signal. The first alternation of an emitter-loaded npn pulsed oscillator is negative. The first alternation of the collector- loaded pulsed oscillator is positive. If a pnp is used, the oscillator will reverse the first alternation of both the emitter-loaded and the collector-loaded oscillator.

You probably have noticed by now that feedback has not been mentioned in this discussion. Remember that regenerative feedback was a requirement for sustained oscillations. In the case of the pulsed oscillator, oscillations are only required for a very short period of time. You should understand, however, that as the width of the input gate (which cuts off the transistor) is increased, the amplitude of the sine wave begins to decrease (dampen) near the end of the gate period because of the lack of feedback. If a long period of oscillation is required for a particular application, a pulsed oscillator with regenerative feedback is used. The principle of operation remains the same except that the feedback network sustains the oscillation period for the desired amount of time.

Q-20. Oscillators that are turned on and off at a specific time are known as what type of oscillators?

Q-21. What is the polarity of the first alternation of the tank circuit in an emitter-loaded npn pulsed oscillator?

###### HARMONICS

From your study of oscillators, you should know that the oscillator will oscillate at the resonant frequency of the tank circuit. Although the tank circuit is resonant at a particular frequency, many other frequencies other than the resonant frequency are present in the oscillator. These other frequencies are referred to as HARMONICS. A harmonic is defined as a sinusoidal wave having a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency. In other words, a sine wave that is twice that fundamental frequency is referred to as the SECOND HARMONIC.

What you must remember is that the current in circuits operating at the resonant frequency is relatively large in amplitude. The harmonic frequency amplitudes are relatively small. For example, the second harmonic of a fundamental frequency has only 20 percent of the amplitude of the resonant frequency. A third harmonic has perhaps 10 percent of the amplitude of the fundamental frequency.

One useful purpose of harmonics is that of frequency multiplication. It can be used in circuits to multiply the fundamental frequency to a higher frequency. The need for frequency-multiplier circuits results from the fact that the frequency stability of most oscillators decreases as frequency increases. Relatively good stability can be achieved at the lower frequencies. Thus, to achieve optimum stability, an oscillator is operated at a low frequency, and one or more stages of multiplication are used to raise the signal to the desired operating frequency.

###### FREQUENCY MULTIPLICATION

FREQUENCY MULTIPLIERS are special class C amplifiers that are biased at 3 to 10 times the normal cutoff bias. They are used to generate a frequency that is a multiple (harmonic) of a lower frequency. Such circuits are called frequency multipliers or harmonic generators.

Figure 2-26 illustrates a frequency multiplier known as a FREQUENCY DOUBLER or SECOND HARMONIC GENERATOR. As illustrated, the input is 1 megahertz and the output is 2 megahertz, or twice the input frequency. In other words, the second harmonic of 1 megahertz is 2 megahertz. The third harmonic (frequency tripler) would be 3 megahertz, or 3 times the input signal. The fourth harmonic (quadruplet) would be 4 megahertz, or 4 times the 1-megahertz input signal. The fourth harmonic generator (frequency quadruplet) is normally as high in multiplication as is practical, because at harmonics higher than the fourth, the output diminishes to a very weak output signal.

Frequency multipliers are operated by the pulses of collector current produced by a class C amplifier. Although the collector current flows in pulses, the alternating collector voltage is sinusoidal because of the action of the tank circuit. When the output tank circuit is tuned to the required harmonic, the tank circuit acts as a filter, accepting the desired frequency and rejecting all others.

Figure 2-27 illustrates the waveforms in a typical doubler circuit. You can see that the pulses of collector current are the same frequency as the input signal. These pulses of collector current energize the tank circuit and cause it to oscillate at twice the base signal frequency. Between the pulses of collector current, the tank circuit continues to oscillate. Therefore, the tank circuit receives a current pulse for every other cycle of its output.

Buffer Amplifier

Coupling the resonant frequency from the oscillator by different coupling methods also affects the oscillator frequency and amplitude. A BUFFER AMPLIFIER decreases the loading effect on the oscillator by reducing the interaction (matching impedance) between the load and the oscillator.

Figure 2-28 is the schematic diagram of a buffer amplifier. This circuit is a common-collector amplifier. A common-collector amplifier has a high input impedance and a low output impedance. Since the output of an oscillator is connected to the high impedance of the common-collector amplifier, the buffer has little effect on the operation of the oscillator. The output of the common-collector buffer is then connected to an external load; therefore, the changes in the output load cannot reflect back to the oscillator circuit. Thus, the buffer amplifier reduces interaction between the load and the oscillator. Figure 2-29 illustrates a shunt-fed Hartley oscillator with a buffer amplifier. This is "one-way" coupling since the oscillator signal is coupled forward, but load changes are not coupled back to the oscillator.

Q-22. What is the frequency that is twice the fundamental frequency? Q-23. What is the purpose of the buffer amplifier?