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Chapter 12. Oscillator. Dr.Debashis De Associate Professor West Bengal University of Technology. Contents:. 12-1 Introduction 12-2 Classifications of Oscillators 12-3 Circuit Analysis of a General Oscillator 12-4 Conditions for Oscillation: Barkhausen- Criteria 12-5 Tuned Oscillator

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Chapter 12

Chapter 12


Dr.Debashis De

Associate Professor

West Bengal University of Technology


  • 12-1 Introduction

  • 12-2 Classifications of Oscillators

  • 12-3 Circuit Analysis of a General Oscillator

  • 12-4 Conditions for Oscillation: Barkhausen- Criteria

  • 12-5 Tuned Oscillator

  • 12-6 Crystal Oscillator

  • 12-7 Applications of Oscillators


  • In this chapter we will explore the working principle of the oscillator. Generally speaking, the oscillator produces sinusoidal and other waveforms.

  • Beginning with a detailed circuit analysis of the oscillator, we will proceed to discuss the conditions and frequency of oscillation.

  • Following this, the different types of oscillators—Tuned oscillator, Hartley oscillator, Colpitts oscillator, Clapp oscillator, Phase-shift oscillator, Crystal oscillator and Wien-bridge oscillator—will be examined with detailed mathematical analysis and illustrations.

  • The chapter ends with an overview of the applications of the oscillator.


  • An oscillator is an electronic system.

  • It comprises active and passive circuit elements and sinusoidal produces repetitive waveforms at the output without the application of a direct external input signal to the circuit.

  • It converts the dc power from the source to ac power in the load. A rectifier circuit converts ac to dc power, but an oscillator converts dc noise signal/power to its ac equivalent.

  • The general form of a harmonic oscillator is an electronic amplifier with the output attached to a narrow-band electronic filter, and the output of the filter attached to the input of the amplifier.

  • In this chapter, the oscillator analysis is done in two methods—first by a general analysis, considering all other circuits are the special form of a common generalized circuit and second, using the individual circuit KVL analysis.

Classifications of oscillators

  • Oscillators are classified based on the type of the output waveform.

  • If the generated waveform is sinusoidal or close to sinusoidal (with a certain frequency) then the oscillator is said to be a Sinusoidal Oscillator.

    If the output waveform is non-sinusoidal, which refers to square/saw-tooth waveforms, the oscillator is said to be a

    Relaxation Oscillator.

  • An oscillator has a positive feedback with the loop gain infinite. Feedback-type sinusoidal oscillators can be classified as LC (inductor-capacitor) and RC (resistor-capacitor) oscillators.

Classifications of oscillators1

  • The classification of various oscillators is shown in Table 12-1.

Circuit analysis of a general oscillator

  • This section discusses the general oscillator circuit with a simple generalized analysis using the transistor, as shown in Fig. 12-2.

  • An impedance z1 is connected between the base B and the emitter E, an impedance z2 is connected between the collector C and emitter E. To apply a positive feedback z3 is connected between

  • the collector and the base terminal.

  • All the other different oscillators can be analyzed as a special case of the generalized analysis of oscillator.

Circuit analysis of a general oscillator1

  • The above generalized circuit of an oscillator is considered using a simple transistor-equivalent circuit model. The current voltage expressions are expressed as follows:

Colpitts oscillator
Colpitts Oscillator:

Colpitts oscillator1
Colpitts Oscillator:

Colpitts oscillator2
Colpitts Oscillator:

Wien bridge oscillator4
Wien-Bridge Oscillator:

  • Advantages of Wien-Bridge Oscillator:

  • 1. The frequency of oscillation can be easily varied just by changing RC network

  • 2. High gain due to two-stage amplifier

  • 3. Stability is high

  • Disadvantages of Wien-Bridge Oscillator

  • The main disadvantage of the Wien-bridge oscillator is that a high frequency of oscillation cannot be generated.

Nyquist criterion for oscillation
Nyquist Criterion for Oscillation:

  • Nyquist criterion states that if this closed curve passes through or encloses the point (1 + j0), the amplifier becomes unstable and oscillates.

  • It is important to note that a positive feedback amplifier will not oscillate unless the Nyquist criterion is satisfied.

  • In the steady state condition the loop gain becomes unity and the oscillations are sustained, the frequency of oscillations is controlled by the frequency-determining network of the oscillator.

  • The RC and a LC combination circuits are used in oscillators to serve as the frequency-determining network.

  • Let us summarize the key necessities of a feedback oscillator.

    1. Amplifier with positive feedback produces a negative resistance in the system.

    2. A frequency-determining network creates oscillations at certain required frequencies.

    3. System non-linearity introduced by the devices contain the amplitude of oscillation.

Nyquist criterion for oscillation1
Nyquist Criterion for Oscillation:

Tuned oscillator
Tuned Oscillator:

  • The circuit diagram of a tuned oscillator is shown in Fig. 12-10(a). The emitter by pass capacitor CE shunts the ac so that RE is omitted from the ac equivalent circuit of Fig. 12-10(b).

  • The dc operating point of the transistor is determined by the resistances R1, R2 and RE, and supply voltage. The transistor gives a phase-shift of 1800.

Circuit Analysis of Tuned Oscillator:

Crystal oscillator

  • Crystal oscillator is most commonly used oscillator with high-frequency stability. They are used for laboratory experiments, communication circuits and biomedical instruments. They are usually, fixed frequency oscillators where stability and accuracy are the primary considerations.

  • In order to design a stable and accurate LC oscillator for the upper HF and higher frequencies it is absolutely necessary to have a crystal control; hence, the reason for crystal oscillators.

  • Crystal oscillators are oscillators where the primary frequency determining element is a quartz crystal. Because of the inherent characteristics of the quartz crystal the crystal oscillator may be held to extreme accuracy of frequency stability. Temperature

  • compensation may be applied to crystal oscillators to improve thermal stability of the crystal oscillator.

  • The crystal size and cut determine the values of L, C, R and C'. The resistance R is the friction of the vibrating crystal, capacitance C is the compliance, and inductance L is the equivalent mass. The capacitance C' is the electrostatic capacitance between the mounted pair of electrodes with the crystal as the dielectric.

Applications of oscillators

  • Oscillators are a common element of almost all electronic circuits. They are used in various applications, and their use makes it possible for circuits and subsystems to perform numerous useful functions.

  • In oscillator circuits, oscillation usually builds up from zero when power is first applied under linear circuit operation.

  • The oscillator’s amplitude is kept from building up by limiting the amplifier saturation and various non-linear effects.

  • Oscillator design and simulation is a complicated process. It is also extremely important and crucial to design a good and stable oscillator.

  • Oscillators are commonly used in communication circuits. All the

    communication circuits for different modulation techniques—AM, FM, PM—the use of an oscillator is must.

  • Oscillators are used as stable frequency sources in a variety of electronic applications.

  • Oscillator circuits are used in computer peripherals, counters, timers, calculators, phase-locked loops, digital multi-metres, oscilloscopes, and numerous other applications.

Voltage controlled oscillator
Voltage-Controlled Oscillator:

  • A common oscillator implementation is the voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) circuit, where an input tuning voltage is applied to an oscillator circuit and the tuning voltage adjusted to set the frequency at which the circuit oscillates.

  • The VCO is the most widely used oscillator circuit and it produces an oscillatory output voltage.

  • It provides a periodic signal, where the frequency of the periodic signal is related to the level of an input voltage control signal supplied to the VCO.

  • A VCO is simply an oscillator having a frequency output that is proportional to an applied voltage.

  • The centre frequency of a VCO is the frequency of the periodic output signal formed by the VCO when the input

    control voltage is set to a nominal level.

Cascode crystal oscillator
Cascode Crystal Oscillator:

  • The cascode crystal oscillator is composed of a Colpitts crystal oscillator and a base-common buffer amplifier in mobile circuits.

  • In the cascode crystal oscillator, a temparature-independent voltage source biases the buffer amplifier and the bypass capaciter gets eliminated.

  • GSM phones, set-top boxes and digital audio broadcasting equipments use oscillators. and digital audio roadcasting equipment use oscillators.

Points to remember

  • 1. Oscillator converts dc to ac.

  • 2. Oscillator has no input signal.

  • 3. Oscillator behaviour is opposite to that of a rectifier.

  • 4. The conditions and frequencies of oscillation are classified as: