# A resistor–capacitor circuit (RC circuit), or RC filter or RC network, is an electric circuit composed of resistors and capacitors driven by a voltage or current source

. A first order RC circuit is composed of one resistor and one capacitor and is the simplest type of RC circuit. RC circuits can be used to filter a signal by blocking certain frequencies and passing others. The four most common RC filters are the high-pass filter, low-pass filter, band-pass filter, and band-stop filter. There are three basic, linear passive lumped analog circuit components: the resistor (R), capacitor (C) and inductor (L). These may be combined in: the RC circuit, the RL circuit, the LC circuit and the RLC circuit with the abbreviations indicating which components are used. These circuits, between them, exhibit a large number of important types of behaviour that are fundamental to much of analog electronics. In particular, they are able to act as passive filters. This article considers the RC circuit, in both series and parallel as shown in the diagrams. The simplest RC circuit is a capacitor and a resistor in series. When a circuit consists of only a charged capacitor and a resistor, the capacitor will discharge its stored energy through the resistor. The voltage across the capacitor, which is time dependent, can be found by using Kirchhoff's current law, where the current through the capacitor must equal the current through the resistor. This results in the linear differential equation

Series circuit
Series RC circuit By viewing the circuit as a voltage divider, the voltage across the capacitor is: and the voltage across the resistor is:

Transfer functions
The transfer function for the capacitor is Similarly, the transfer function for the resistor is Poles and zeros Both transfer functions have a single pole located at In addition, the transfer function for the resistor has a zero located at the origin.

Gain and phase angle
The magnitude of the gains across the two components are: and and the phase angles are: and These expressions together may be substituted into the usual expression for the phasor representing the output:

Current
The current in the circuit is the same everywhere since the circuit is in series:

Impulse response
The impulse response for each voltage is the inverse Laplace transform of the corresponding transfer function. It represents the response of the circuit to an input voltage consisting of an impulse or Dirac delta function. The impulse response for the capacitor voltage is

where u(t) is the Heaviside step function and is the time constant. Similarly, the impulse response for the resistor voltage is where δ(t) is the Dirac delta function

Frequency-domain considerations
These are frequency domain expressions. Analysis of them will show which frequencies the circuits (or filters) pass and reject. This analysis rests on a consideration of what happens to these gains as the frequency becomes very large and very small. This shows that, if the output is taken across the capacitor, high frequencies are attenuated (rejected) and low frequencies are passed. Thus, the circuit behaves as a low-pass filter. If, though, the output is taken across the resistor, high frequencies are passed and low frequencies are rejected. In this configuration, the circuit behaves as a high-pass filter. The range of frequencies that the filter passes is called its bandwidth. The point at which the filter attenuates the signal to half its unfiltered power is termed its cutoff frequency. This requires that the gain of the circuit be reduced to Solving the above equation yields or which is the frequency that the filter will attenuate to half its original power. Clearly, the phases also depend on frequency, although this effect is less interesting generally than the gain variations. So at DC (0 Hz), the capacitor voltage is in phase with the signal voltage while the resistor voltage leads it by 90°. As frequency increases, the capacitor voltage comes to have a 90° lag relative to the signal and the resistor voltage comes to be in-phase with the signal.

Time-domain considerations
This section relies on knowledge of e, the natural logarithmic constant. The most straightforward way to derive the time domain behaviour is to use the Laplace transforms of the expressions for VC and VR given above. This effectively transforms . Assuming a step input (i.e. Vin = 0 before t = 0 and then Vin = V afterwards):

and

. Partial fractions expansions and the inverse Laplace transform yield:

. These equations are for calculating the voltage across the capacitor and resistor respectively while the capacitor is charging; for discharging, the equations are vice-versa. These equations can be rewritten in terms of charge and current using the relationships C=Q/V and V=IR (see Ohm's law). Thus, the voltage across the capacitor tends towards V as time passes, while the voltage across the resistor tends towards 0, as shown in the figures. This is in keeping with the intuitive point that the capacitor will be charging from the supply voltage as time passes, and will eventually be fully charged and form an open circuit. These equations show that a series RC circuit has a time constant, usually denoted τ = RC being the time it takes the voltage across the component to either rise (across C) or fall (across R) to within 1 / e of its final value. That is, τ is the time it takes VC to reach V(1 − 1 / e) and VR to reach V(1 / e).

The rate of change is a fractional per τ. Thus, in going from t = Nτ to t = (N + 1)τ, the voltage will have moved about 63.2 % of the way from its level at t = Nτ toward its final value. So C will be charged to about 63.2 % after τ, and essentially fully charged (99.3 %) after about 5τ. When the voltage source is replaced with a short-circuit, with C fully charged, the voltage across C drops exponentially with t from V towards 0. C will be discharged to about 36.8 % after τ, and essentially fully discharged (0.7 %) after about 5τ. Note that the current, I, in the circuit behaves as the voltage across R does, via Ohm's Law. These results may also be derived by solving the differential equations describing the circuit:

and . The first equation is solved by using an integrating factor and the second follows easily; the solutions are exactly the same as those obtained via Laplace transforms. Integrator Consider the output across the capacitor at high frequency i.e.

. This means that the capacitor has insufficient time to charge up and so its voltage is very small. Thus the input voltage approximately equals the voltage across the resistor. To see this, consider the expression for I given above:

but note that the frequency condition described means that

Differentiator Consider the output across the resistor at low frequency i.e. when . so .so which is just Ohm's Law. This means that the capacitor has time to charge up until its voltage is almost equal to the source's voltage. so Now. which is a differentiator across the resistor. Now.. Considering the expression for I again. which is an integrator across the capacitor. . .

More accurate integration and differentiation can be achieved by placing resistors and capacitors as appropriate on the input and feedback loop of operational amplifiers (see operational amplifier integrator and operational amplifier differentiator). The moving average operation used in fields such as finance is a particular kind of low-pass filter. and a band-pass filter is a combination of a low-pass and a high-pass. Low-pass filters provide a smoother form of a signal. Parallel circuit The parallel RC circuit is generally of less interest than the series circuit. the low notes are easily heard. Electronic . When music is playing in another room. Low-pass filter A low-pass filter is a filter that passes low-frequency signals but attenuates (reduces the amplitude of) signals with frequencies higher than the cutoff frequency. acoustic barriers. This shows that the capacitor current is 90° out of phase with the resistor (and source) current. and so on. The actual amount of attenuation for each frequency varies from filter to filter. Examples of low-pass filters Acoustic A stiff physical barrier tends to reflect higher sound frequencies. or treble cut filter when used in audio applications. this circuit does not act as a filter on the input signal unless fed by a current source. A low-pass filter is the opposite of a high-pass filter. including electronic circuits (such as a hiss filter used in audio). the governing differential equations may be used: and . Low-pass filters exist in many different forms. Alternatively. digital filters for smoothing sets of data. blurring of images. and so acts as a low-pass filter for transmitting sound. and can be analyzed with the same signal processing techniques as are used for other low-pass filters. removing the short-term fluctuations. while the high notes are attenuated. and leaving the longer-term trend. It is sometimes called a high-cut filter. This is largely because the output voltage Vout is equal to the input voltage Vin — as a result. With complex impedances: and .

The tone knob found on many electric guitars is a low-pass filter used to reduce the amount of treble in the sound. because the sinc function's support region extends to all past and future times. in order to perform the convolution. For example. or more typically by making the signal repetitive and using Fourier analysis. These can be reduced or worsened by choice of windowing function. An integrator is another example of a single time constant low-pass filter. and to reduce these artifacts one uses window functions "which drop off more smoothly at the edges. and is a brick-wall filter. a sinc function. in the time domain. The transition region present in practical filters does not exist in an ideal filter. However. to block high pitches that they can't efficiently broadcast. An ideal low-pass filter results in ringing artifacts via the Gibbs phenomenon. and the design and choice of real filters involves understanding and minimizing these artifacts. high frequencies contained in the input signal are attenuated but the filter has little attenuation below its cutoff frequency which is determined by its RC time constant. An ideal low-pass filter completely eliminates all frequencies above the cutoff frequency while passing those below unchanged: its frequency response is a rectangular function. equivalently. This delay is manifested as phase shift."[2] ." in signal reconstruction. It is effectively realizable for pre-recorded digital signals by assuming extensions of zero into the past and future. Electronic low-pass filters are used to drive subwoofers and other types of loudspeakers. and so generally needs to be approximated for real ongoing signals. See current divider discussed in more detail below. Radio transmitters use low-pass filters to block harmonic emissions which might cause interference with other communications. "simple truncation [of sinc] causes severe ringing artifacts. applying that filter requires delaying the signal for a moderate period of time. For current signals. Greater accuracy in approximation requires a longer delay. Real filters for real-time applications approximate the ideal filter by truncating and windowing the infinite impulse response to make a finite impulse response. The filter would therefore need to have infinite delay.[1] Telephone lines fitted with DSL splitters use low-pass and high-pass filters to separate DSL and POTS signals sharing the same pair of wires. the ideal filter is impossible to realize without also having signals of infinite extent in time. An ideal low-pass filter can be realized mathematically (theoretically) by multiplying a signal by the rectangular function in the frequency domain or. or knowledge of the infinite future and past. Ideal and real filters The sinc function. convolution with its impulse response. a similar circuit using a resistor and capacitor in parallel works in a similar manner. allowing the computation to "see" a little bit into the future. Low-pass filters also play a significant role in the sculpting of sound for electronic music as created by analogue synthesisers. the impulse response of an ideal low-pass filter. See subtractive synthesis.In an electronic low-pass RC filter for voltage signals.

which smoothly transitions between the two straight line regions. a 3 dB decline reflects an additional half-power attenuation). In all cases. The frequency response of a filter is generally represented using a Bode plot.and higher-order filters are defined similarly. a high-pass filter could be built that cuts off at a lower frequency than any low-pass filter – it is their responses that set them apart. . causing their frequency response at the cutoff frequency to be above the horizontal line.e. So the order of the filter determines the amount of additional attenuation for frequencies higher than the cutoff frequency. Other all-pole second-order filters may roll off at different rates initially depending on their Q factor. at the cutoff frequency. this one-pole–one-zero filter is still a first-order low-pass. they will intersect at exactly the "cutoff frequency". for example. The various types of filters – Butterworth filter. such an effect is caused for example by a little bit of the input leaking around the one-pole filter. and the filter is characterized by its cutoff frequency and rate of frequency rolloff. See Pole–zero plot and RC circuit. See RLC circuit. A second-order filter attenuates higher frequencies more steeply. except that it falls off more quickly.. Continuous-time low-pass filters The gain-magnitude frequency response of a first-order (one-pole) low-pass filter. as with the first-order filters. will reduce the signal amplitude by half (so power reduces by 6 dB) every time the frequency doubles (goes up one octave). There is also a "knee curve" at the boundary between the two. If the transfer function of a first-order lowpass filter has a zero as well as a pole. with different responses to changing frequency. right up through microwave frequencies (above 1 GHz) and higher. Third. at some maximum attenuation of high frequencies. • • On any Butterworth filter. Electronic circuits can be devised for any desired frequency range. Chebyshev filter. Power gain is shown in decibels (i. a second-order Butterworth filter will reduce the signal amplitude to one fourth its original level every time the frequency doubles (so power decreases by 12 dB per octave. For example. In general. Many second-order filters are designed to have "peaking" or resonance.e. the final rate of power rolloff for an order-n all-pole filter is 6n dB per octave (i.The Whittaker–Shannon interpolation formula describes how to use a perfect lowpass filter to reconstruct a continuous signal from a sampled digital signal. The frequency response at the cutoff frequency in a first-order filter is 3 dB below the horizontal line. more precisely. The meanings of 'low' and 'high' – that is. the power rolloff approaches 20 dB per decade in the limit of high frequency. the filter attenuates the input power by half or 3 dB. The term "low-pass filter" merely refers to the shape of the filter's response. Real digital-to-analog converters use real filter approximations. zeroes in the transfer function can change the high-frequency asymptote.. Bessel filter. See electronic filter for other types. but approach the same final rate of 12 dB per octave. if one extends the horizontal line to the right and the diagonal line to the upper-left (the asymptotes of the function). the cutoff frequency – depend on the characteristics of the filter. and a diagonal line above the cutoff frequency. or 40 dB per decade). The Bode plot for this type of filter resembles that of a first-order filter. • A first-order filter. – all have different-looking "knee curves". Angular frequency is shown on a logarithmic scale in units of radians per second. 20n dB per decade). etc. the Bode plot will flatten out again. The magnitude Bode plot for a first-order filter looks like a horizontal line below the cutoff frequency. There are many different types of filter circuits.

and C is in farads. see Bilinear transform. p. at which the output power is half the input power. 60.. ISBN 0-03-051648-X. reduces the amplitude of) frequencies lower than the filter's cutoff frequency. it may have non-unity passband gain. 3 ed. a simple example comes from the conversion of the continuous-time high-pass filter above to a discrete-time realization. τ is in seconds. Discrete-time filter design is beyond the scope of this article. according to Kirchoff's Laws and the definition of capacitance: where Qc(t) is the charge stored in the capacitor at time t. It is sometimes called a low-cut filter or bass-cut filter. Saunders College Publishing.. Microelectronic Circuits. the filter has a passband gain of -R2/R1 and has a corner frequency of Because this filter is active.References 1. however. Figure 2: An active high-pass filter Figure 2 shows an active electronic implementation of a first-order high-pass filter using an operational amplifier. ^ Sedra. That is. 2.  Discrete-time realization For another method of conversion from continuous. In this case. From the circuit in Figure 1 above. The product of the resistance and capacitance (R×C) is the time constant (τ). here fc is in hertz.to discrete-time. the continuoustime behavior can be discretized. That is. or HPF. is an LTI filter that passes high frequencies well but attenuates (i. Discrete-time high-pass filters can also be designed. Substituting Equation (Q) into Equation (I) and then Equation (I) into Equation (V) gives: . Adel (1991).e.[1] First-order continuous-time implementation The simple first-order electronic high-pass filter shown in Figure 1 is implemented by placing an input voltage across the series combination of a capacitor and a resistor and using the voltage across the resistor as an output. ^ Mastering Windows: Improving Reconstruction High-pass filter A high-pass filter. R is in ohms. That is. high-frequency signals are inverted and amplified by R2/R1. The actual amount of attenuation for each frequency is a design parameter of the filter. it is inversely proportional to the cutoff frequency fc.

If .  Algorithmic implementation The filter recurrence relation provides a way to determine the output samples in terms of the input samples and the preceding output. For simplicity.x[i-1]) However. then the RC time constant equal to the sampling period. The following pseudocode algorithm will simulate the effect of a high-pass filter on a series of digital samples: // Return RC high-pass filter output samples. given input samples.x[i-1]) return y The loop which calculates each of the n outputs can be refactored into the equivalent: for i from 1 to n y[i] := α * (y[i-1] + x[i] . this discrete-time implementation of a simple continuous-time RC high-pass filter is By definition. Making these substitutions: And rearranging terms gives the recurrence relation That is. then RC is significantly smaller than the sampling interval. and .n] y var real α := RC / (RC + dt) y[0] := x[0] for i from 1 to n y[i] := α * y[i-1] + α * (x[i] . . and time constant RC function highpass(real[0. Let the samples of Vin be represented by the sequence . and let Vout be represented by the sequence which correspond to the same points in time. .5.. real RC) var real[0.This equation can be discretized. // time interval dt. The expression for parameter α yields the equivalent time constant RC in terms of the sampling period ΔT and α: If α = 0. real dt.x[i-1]). the earlier form shows how the parameter α changes the impact of the prior output y[i-1] and current change in input (x[i] .n] x. assume that samples of the input and output are taken at evenly-spaced points in time separated by ΔT time. In particular..

g.[1] High-pass filters are also used for AC coupling at the inputs of many audio amplifiers. or 20 to 20. noises (e. Because it requires large (i. did not have high-pass filtering at all. One amplifier. They are used as part of an audio crossover to direct high frequencies to a tweeter while attenuating bass signals which could interfere with. Some models have fixed-slope. this case corresponds to a high-pass filter with a very narrow stop band. footsteps. other models have 'sweepable HPF'—a high-pass filter of fixed slope that can be set within a specified frequency range. are expensive. fixed-frequency high-pass filters at 80 or 100 Hz that can be engaged. fast) changes and tends to quickly forget its prior output values.e. it can pass relatively low frequencies. it can only pass relatively high frequencies. rob the amplifier of headroom. •  Applications  Audio High-pass filters have many applications. a large α corresponds to a large RC and therefore a low corner frequency of the filter. which provides good quality sound without inductors (which are prone to parasitic coupling..e. an input with (x[i] .e. and may have significant internal resistance) is to employ bi-amplification with active RC filters or active digital filters with separate power amplifiers for each loudspeaker. a small α corresponds to a small RC and therefore a high corner frequency of the filter. (x[i] . or motor noises from record players and tape decks) may be removed because they are undesired or may overload the RIAA equalization circuit of the preamp. By the relationship between parameter α and time constant RC above.x[i-1]) is large) to cause the output to change much. Hence..000 Hz on the Yamaha M7CL digital mixing console. such as from 20 to 400 Hz on the Midas Heritage 3000. For example. and generate waste heat at the loudspeakers voice coil.[1] Rumble filters are high-pass filters applied to the removal of unwanted sounds near to the lower end of the audible range or below. Veteran systems engineer and live sound mixer Bruce Main recommends that high-pass filters be engaged for most mixer input . An alternative. the speaker. A small α implies that the output will decay quickly and will require large changes in the input (i. for preventing the amplification of DC currents which may harm the amplifier.[2] However. However. Hence. Such low-current and low-voltage line level crossovers are called active crossovers.. this case corresponds to a high-pass filter with a very wide stop band. When such a filter is built into a loudspeaker cabinet it is normally a passive filter that also includes a low-pass filter for the woofer and so often employs both a capacitor and inductor (although very simple high-pass filters for tweeters can consist of a series capacitor and nothing else).[3] Another example is the QSC Audio PLX amplifier series which includes an internal 5 Hz high-pass filter which is applied to the inputs whenever the optional 50 and 30 Hz high-pass filters are turned off.[4] Mixing consoles often include high-pass filtering at each channel strip. and could be used to amplify the DC signal of a common 9volt battery at the input to supply 18 volts DC in an emergency for mixing console power. or damage.• A large α implies that the output will decay very slowly but will also be strongly influenced by even small changes in input.. Because it is excited by small changes and tends to hold its prior output values for a long time. a constant input (i. as would be expected with a high-pass filter with a large RC.x[i-1])=0) will always decay to zero. as would be expected with a high-pass filter with a small RC. that model's basic design has been superseded by newer designs such as the Crown Macro-Tech series developed in the late 1980s which included 10 Hz high-pass filtering on the inputs and switchable 35 Hz high-pass filtering on the outputs. the professional audio model DC300 made by Crown International beginning in the 1960s. By the relationship between parameter α and time constant RC above.

http://recforums. Also verifies simple passive LPF transfer function by means of trigonometric identity.  See also • • • • • DSL filter Band-stop filter Band-pass filter Bias tee Low-pass filter  References 1. Massachusetts: ProSoundWeb. Main indicates that high-pass filters are commonly used for directional microphones which have a proximity effect—a low-frequency boost for very close sources. year=2007. 4. Crown Audio. Focal Press. except for those such as kick drum.com/index.php/m/462291/0/.google. Retrieved 9 March 2010.pdf.prosoundweb. Bruce (February 16. Main writes that DI unit inputs (as opposed to microphone inputs) do not need high-pass filtering as they are not subject to modulation by low-frequency stage wash—low frequency sounds coming from the subwoofers or the public address system and wrapping around to the stage. Retrieved March 9. http://www. Macro-Tech Series. Retrieved March 9. John (year=1998). "Cut 'Em Off At The Pass: Effective Uses Of High-Pass Filtering". search . the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation. ^ a b c Watkinson. 2010. ^ "User Manual: PLX Series Amplifiers". ^ Andrews. pp. 2010. ECE 209: Sources of Phase Shift – Gives an intuitive explanation of the source of phase shift in a high-pass filter. 2010. Live Sound International (Framingham.  External links • • • Common Impulse Responses ECE 209: Review of Circuits as LTI Systems – Short primer on the mathematical analysis of (electrical) LTI systems. Low-pass filter From Wikipedia.com/pdf/amps/128313. 268. QSC Audio. The Art of Sound Reproduction.com/pdfs/plxuser.pdf. Recording. "Re: Running the board for a show this big?". bass guitar and piano.com/books? id=01u_Vm5i5isC&pg=PA479. 3. but Main notes that he has seen microphones that benefit from a 500 Hz HPF setting on the console. 2. ^ "Operation Manual: MA-5002VZ". ^ Main. 2010). Keith. 1999. posting as ssltech (January 11.crownaudio. ProSoundWeb.sources. Engineering & Production. ISBN 0240515129. 5.qscaudio. EH Publishing). This low frequency boost commonly causes problems up to 200 or 300 Hz. 2010). Retrieved March 9. sources which will have useful low frequency sounds. http://media.[5]  Image High-pass and low-pass filters are also used in digital image processing to perform transformations in the spatial frequency domain.[citation needed] The so-called Unsharp Mask used in most of the image editing software is a high pass filter. http://books. 479.

1 Passive electronic realization 4. and so acts as a low-pass filter for transmitting sound. a similar circuit using a resistor and capacitor in parallel works in a similar manner. the low notes are easily heard. The moving average operation used in fields such as finance is a particular kind of low-pass filter. Low-pass filters provide a smoother form of a signal. blurring of images. and so on. and can be analyzed with the same signal processing techniques as are used for other low-pass filters. digital filters for smoothing sets of data. removing the short-term fluctuations.A low-pass filter is a filter that passes low-frequency signals but attenuates (reduces the amplitude of) signals with frequencies higher than the cutoff frequency.1 Algorithmic implementation 4 Electronic low-pass filters • • • • 5 Discrete-time realization ○ 6 See also 7 References 8 External links  Examples of low-pass filters  Acoustic A stiff physical barrier tends to reflect higher sound frequencies. and a band-pass filter is a combination of a low-pass and a high-pass. Electronic low-pass filters are used to drive subwoofers and other types of loudspeakers. The actual amount of attenuation for each frequency varies from filter to filter. A low-pass filter is the opposite of a high-pass filter. or treble cut filter when used in audio applications.1 Acoustic 1.1 Laplace notation 4. It is sometimes called a high-cut filter.  Electronic In an electronic low-pass RC filter for voltage signals. high frequencies contained in the input signal are attenuated but the filter has little attenuation below its cutoff frequency which is determined by its RC time constant. including electronic circuits (such as a hiss filter used in audio). When music is playing in another room. Contents [hide] • 1 Examples of low-pass filters ○ ○ 1. while the high notes are attenuated. . acoustic barriers. Low-pass filters exist in many different forms.2 Electronic • • • 2 Ideal and real filters 3 Continuous-time low-pass filters ○ ○ ○ 3. and leaving the longer-term trend. For current signals. See current divider discussed in more detail below.2 Active electronic realization 5. to block high pitches that they can't efficiently broadcast.

The tone knob found on many electric guitars is a low-pass filter used to reduce the amount of treble in the sound.Radio transmitters use low-pass filters to block harmonic emissions which might cause interference with other communications. Real filters for real-time applications approximate the ideal filter by truncating and windowing the infinite impulse response to make a finite impulse response. "simple truncation [of sinc] causes severe ringing artifacts.[1] Telephone lines fitted with DSL splitters use low-pass and high-pass filters to separate DSL and POTS signals sharing the same pair of wires. applying that filter requires delaying the signal for a moderate period of time. The filter would therefore need to have infinite delay. and the design and choice of real filters involves understanding and minimizing these artifacts. An ideal low-pass filter can be realized mathematically (theoretically) by multiplying a signal by the rectangular function in the frequency domain or. allowing the computation to "see" a little bit into the future. and to reduce these artifacts one uses window functions "which drop off more smoothly at the edges. Power gain is shown in decibels (i.e. Greater accuracy in approximation requires a longer delay. Angular frequency is shown on a logarithmic scale in units of radians per second. or knowledge of the infinite future and past. An ideal low-pass filter results in ringing artifacts via the Gibbs phenomenon. the ideal filter is impossible to realize without also having signals of infinite extent in time. equivalently. An integrator is another example of a single time constant low-pass filter.  Continuous-time low-pass filters The gain-magnitude frequency response of a first-order (one-pole) low-pass filter. The transition region present in practical filters does not exist in an ideal filter. This delay is manifested as phase shift. in the time domain. See subtractive synthesis. a 3 dB decline reflects an additional half-power attenuation). An ideal low-pass filter completely eliminates all frequencies above the cutoff frequency while passing those below unchanged: its frequency response is a rectangular function." in signal reconstruction. and so generally needs to be approximated for real ongoing signals. in order to perform the convolution. the impulse response of an ideal low-pass filter."[2] The Whittaker–Shannon interpolation formula describes how to use a perfect low-pass filter to reconstruct a continuous signal from a sampled digital signal. convolution with its impulse response.  Ideal and real filters The sinc function. For example. However. or more typically by making the signal repetitive and using Fourier analysis. and is a brick-wall filter. a sinc function. These can be reduced or worsened by choice of windowing function. Real digital-to-analog converters use real filter approximations. It is effectively realizable for pre-recorded digital signals by assuming extensions of zero into the past and future.. Low-pass filters also play a significant role in the sculpting of sound for electronic music as created by analogue synthesisers. . because the sinc function's support region extends to all past and future times.

See RLC circuit. zeroes in the transfer function can change the high-frequency asymptote. the cutoff frequency – depend on the characteristics of the filter. The Bode plot for this type of filter resembles that of a first-order filter. more precisely. a high-pass filter could be built that cuts off at a lower frequency than any low-pass filter – it is their responses that set them apart. at some maximum attenuation of high frequencies. The magnitude Bode plot for a first-order filter looks like a horizontal line below the cutoff frequency. except that it falls off more quickly. etc. but approach the same final rate of 12 dB per octave. The frequency response at the cutoff frequency in a first-order filter is 3 dB below the horizontal line. See Pole–zero plot and RC circuit. Chebyshev filter.and higher-order filters are defined similarly. The term "low-pass filter" merely refers to the shape of the filter's response. or 40 dB per decade). Third. The frequency response of a filter is generally represented using a Bode plot. which smoothly transitions between the two straight line regions. Many second-order filters are designed to have "peaking" or resonance. as with the first-order filters. at the cutoff frequency. For example.. the final rate of power rolloff for an order-n all-pole filter is 6n dB per octave (i. if one extends the horizontal line to the right and the diagonal line to the upper-left (the asymptotes of the function). In all cases. 20n dB per decade). the Bode plot will flatten out again. There is also a "knee curve" at the boundary between the two. causing their frequency response at the cutoff frequency to be above the horizontal line. with different responses to changing frequency. Electronic circuits can be devised for any desired frequency range. such an effect is caused for example by a little bit of the input leaking around the one-pole filter. • A first-order filter. right up through microwave frequencies (above 1 GHz) and higher. they will intersect at exactly the "cutoff frequency". for example.There are many different types of filter circuits. A second-order filter attenuates higher frequencies more steeply. and the filter is characterized by its cutoff frequency and rate of frequency rolloff. the power rolloff approaches 20 dB per decade in the limit of high frequency. • • On any Butterworth filter. See electronic filter for other types. a second-order Butterworth filter will reduce the signal amplitude to one fourth its original level every time the frequency doubles (so power decreases by 12 dB per octave. The meanings of 'low' and 'high' – that is. So the order of the filter determines the amount of additional attenuation for frequencies higher than the cutoff frequency. one can similarly consider the Z-transform of the impulse response). For example. Other all-pole second-order filters may roll off at different rates initially depending on their Q factor.e. this one-pole–one-zero filter is still a first-order low-pass. will reduce the signal amplitude by half (so power reduces by 6 dB) every time the frequency doubles (goes up one octave). Bessel filter. The various types of filters – Butterworth filter. In general. and a diagonal line above the cutoff frequency. – all have different-looking "knee curves". the filter attenuates the input power by half or 3 dB.  Laplace notation Continuous-time filters can also be described in terms of the Laplace transform of their impulse response in a way that allows all of the characteristics of the filter to be easily analyzed by considering the pattern of poles and zeros of the Laplace transform in the complex plane (in discrete time. a first-order low-pass filter can be described in Laplace notation as . If the transfer function of a first-order low-pass filter has a zero as well as a pole.

It is the Bode plot and frequency response that show this variability. In the operational amplifier circuit shown in the figure. The capacitor exhibits reactance. The capacitor will variably act between these two extremes. is determined by the time constant: or equivalently (in radians per second): One way to understand this circuit is to focus on the time the capacitor takes to charge. effectively short circuiting to ground (analogous to replacing the capacitor with just a wire). Another way to understand this circuit is with the idea of reactance at a particular frequency: • • The capacitor is not an "on/off" object (like the block or pass fluidic explanation above). the cutoff frequency (in hertz) is defined as: . τ is the filter time constant. The output goes up and down only a small fraction of the amount the input goes up and down. Since AC flows very well through the capacitor — almost as well as it flows through solid wire — AC input "flows out" through the capacitor. It takes time to charge or discharge the capacitor through that resistor: • • At low frequencies. also called the turnover frequency or cutoff frequency (in hertz). the capacitor only has time to charge up a small amount before the input switches direction. and the capacitor effectively functions as a short circuit. At double the frequency. At higher frequencies the reactance drops. and K is the filter passband gain.where s is the Laplace transform variable. first order low-pass RC filter One simple electrical circuit that will serve as a low-pass filter consists of a resistor in series with a load. causing them to go through the load instead. there's only time for it to charge up half the amount. At high frequencies. and blocks low-frequency signals. DC input must "flow out" the path marked Vout (analogous to removing the capacitor).  Electronic low-pass filters  Passive electronic realization Passive. Since DC cannot flow through the capacitor. The break frequency. and a capacitor in parallel with the load. there is plenty of time for the capacitor to charge up to practically the same voltage as the input voltage.  Active electronic realization An active low-pass filter Another type of electrical circuit is an active low-pass filter. The combination of resistance and capacitance gives you the time constant of the filter τ = RC (represented by the Greek letter tau).

The effect of a low-pass filter can be simulated on a computer by analyzing its behavior in the time domain. and helps to avoid oscillation in the amplifier. an audio amplifier can be made into a low-pass filter with cutoff frequency 100 kHz to reduce gain at frequencies which would otherwise oscillate. A simple low-pass RC filter From the circuit diagram to the right. Substituting equation Q into equation I gives . see Bilinear transform. Let the samples of vin be . and the stopband drops off at −6 dB per octave as it is a first-order filter. and the amplifier behaves the same way as far as audio is concerned. a simple gain amplifier (as opposed to the very-high-gain operational amplifier) is turned into a low-pass filter by simply adding a feedback capacitor C.  Discrete-time realization For another method of conversion from continuous.or equivalently (in radians per second): The gain in the passband is −R2/R1. according to Kirchoff's Laws and the definition of capacitance: (V ) (Q) (I) where Qc(t) is the charge stored in the capacitor at time t. This feedback decreases the frequency response at high frequencies via the Miller effect. Since the audio band (what we can hear) only goes up to 20 kHz or so. For example. For simplicity. which can be substituted into equation V so that: This equation can be discretized. Sometimes.to discrete-time. the frequencies of interest fall entirely in the passband. and then discretizing the model. assume that samples of the input and output are taken at evenly-spaced points in time separated by ΔT time.

n] y var real α := dt / (RC + dt) y[0] := x[0] for i from 1 to n y[i] := α * x[i] + (1-α) * y[i-1] return y The loop which calculates each of the n outputs can be refactored into the equivalent: for i from 1 to n y[i] := y[i-1] + α * (x[i] . real dt. This exponential smoothing property matches the exponential decay seen in the continuous-time system. As expected.  Algorithmic implementation The filter recurrence relation provides a way to determine the output samples in terms of the input samples and the preceding output. If . and time constant RC function lowpass(real[0. and . // time interval dt. as the time constant RC . then the RC time constant is equal to the sampling period. the smoothing factor .represented by the sequence . The following pseudocode algorithm will simulate the effect of a low-pass filter on a series of digital samples: // Return RC low-pass filter output samples. and let vout be represented by the sequence which correspond to the same points in time. Making these substitutions: And rearranging terms gives the recurrence relation That is. the change from one filter output to the next is proportional to the difference between the previous output and the next input.y[i-1]) That is. this discrete-time implementation of a simple RC low-pass filter is the exponentiallyweighted moving average By definition.5.. real RC) var real[0. then RC is significantly larger than the sampling interval. The expression for α yields the equivalent time constant RC in terms of the sampling period ΔT and smoothing factor α: If α = 0. given input samples.n] x..

^ Mastering Windows: Improving Reconstruction  External links • • • • Low-pass filter Low Pass Filter java simulator ECE 209: Review of Circuits as LTI Systems – Short primer on the mathematical analysis of (electrical) LTI systems. the discrete-time smoothing parameter α decreases. 60.. and the output samples respond more slowly to a change in the input samples – the system will have more inertia. 2. p. Adel (1991). ECE 209: Sources of Phase Shift – Gives an intuitive explanation of the source of phase shift in a low-pass filter. ^ Sedra. Also verifies simple passive LPF transfer function by means of trigonometric identity. Microelectronic Circuits. . 3 ed. intended for powering subwoofers Electronics portal • • • • Baseband Digital filter: Another realization of a low-pass filter High-pass filter Band-stop filter  References 1. ISBN 0-03-051648-X. Saunders College Publishing.  See also A Class D amplifier with an integral low pass filter.increases.

The following derivation assumes lossless walls. any exciting frequency lower than the cutoff frequency will attenuate.[2]  Communications In communications. In fiber optics. the maximum wavelength that will propagate in an optical fiber or waveguide. should be taken to be the group velocity of light in whatever material fills the waveguide. which becomes a Helmholtz equation by considering only functions of the form . other ratios are sometimes more convenient.  Waveguides The cutoff frequency of an electromagnetic waveguide is the lowest frequency for which a mode will propagate in it. For a rectangular waveguide. The cutoff frequency is found with the characteristic equation of the Helmholtz equation for electromagnetic waves.[1] However. the bessel function of the first kind of order 1. The value of c. the speed of light. For a single-mode optical fiber. The amount of ripple in this class of filter can be set by the designer to any desired value.405. and χ01 is the first root of J0(r).  Mathematical analysis The starting point is the wave equation (which is derived from the Maxwell equations). rather than propagate. Thus. the cutoff frequency is where are the mode numbers and a and b the lengths of the sides of the rectangle. it is more common to consider the cutoff wavelength. For instance. also referred to as the 3dB point since a fall of 3dB corresponds approximately to half power. the term cutoff frequency can mean the frequency below which a radio wave fails to penetrate a layer of the ionosphere at the incidence angle required for transmission between two specified points by reflection from the layer. As a voltage ratio this is a fall to of the passband voltage. in the case of the Chebyshev filter it is usual to define the cutoff frequency as the point after the last peak in the frequency response at which the level has fallen to the design value of the passband ripple. The cutoff frequency of the TM01 mode in a waveguide of circular cross-section (the transverse-magnetic mode with no angular dependence and lowest radial dependence) is given by where r is the radius of the waveguide. the cutoff wavelength is the wavelength at which the normalized frequency is approximately equal to 2.passband power. hence the ratio used could be any value. which is derived from the electromagnetic wave equation by setting the longitudinal wave number equal to zero and solving for the frequency.

It is given by . Substituting and evaluating the time derivative gives The function ψ here refers to whichever field (the electric field or the magnetic field) has no vector component in the longitudinal direction .y. resulting in where subscript T indicates a 2-dimensional transverse Laplacian. Performing the final substitution.y. and we arrive at The transverse wavenumbers can be specified from the standing wave boundary conditions for a rectangular geometry crossection with dimensions a and b: where n and m are the two integers representing a specific eigenmode. In that case the remainder of the Laplacian can be evaluated to its characteristic equation by considering solutions of the form Thus for the rectangular guide the Laplacian is evaluated.ψ(x. which corresponds to the frequency at which the longitudinal wavenumber kz is zero.z. The final step depends on the geometry of the waveguide.the "transverse" field. The easiest geometry to solve is the rectangular waveguide. The "longitudinal" derivative in the Laplacian can further be reduced by considering only functions of the form where kz is the longitudinal wavenumber. we obtain which is the dispersion relation in the rectangular waveguide. It is a property of all the eigenmodes of the electromagnetic waveguide that at least one of the two fields is transverse. The cutoff frequency ωc is the critical frequency between propagation and attenuation.z)eiωt.t) = ψ(x. The z axis is defined to be along the axis of the waveguide.

pp. In this case.. M. 2. 383–384.). Network Analysis (3rd edition ed. Jones Microwave Filters. the field decays exponentially along the waveguide axis.  External links • • • Calculation of the center frequency with geometric mean and comparison to the arithmetic mean solution Conversion of cutoff frequency fc and time constant τ Mathematical definition of and information about the Bessel functions . ISBN 0- 13-611095-9.com/Network-Analysis-Mac-VanValkenburg/dp/0136110959. ^ Mathaei. • This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services Administration document "Federal Standard 1037C" (in support of MIL-STD-188). Retrieved 2008-06-22. pp.  See also • • • • • • Angular frequency Full width at half maximum High-pass filter Low-pass filter Time constant Miller effect  References 1. where the longitudinal wave number is imaginary. Young. McGraw-Hill 1964.amazon. http://www. Impedance-Matching Networks. ^ Van Valkenburg.85-86. E.The wave equations are also valid below the cutoff frequency. and Coupling Structures.

DC-controlled low-pass filter has variable breakpoint .

it can be difficult to select the right bus for your application needs. Brought to you by National Instruments. Read now. More Premium Content • White Paper: Advantages of the PXI Platform and NI Software for Sensor Measurement and Signal Conditioning Systems . This white paper examines the most common PC bus options available and outlines the technical considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right bus for your measurement application.Premium Content Read White Paper: Choosing the Right Bus for Your Measurement Application When you have hundreds of different data acquisition devices to choose from on a wide variety of buses.

Editors' Picks • • • Operating Environments Emerge As Mobile Devices Multiply Simple Light Sensor Circuit Features High Dynamic Range Thin Speaker Technology Gets Ready To Revolutionize Audio Markets .

.

Featured Industry Resources Most Emailed Most Popular Most Commented Andy Grove Has A Few Thousand Words About American Jobs July 15. 2010... • Apple Feels Antenna Angst As Form Trumps Function July 20. 2010. director of engineering for Amp Electric Vehicles about how his company is creating opportunities for both electronics vendors and. 11:06 AM PODCAST: Design Challenges for Electric Vehicles August 04. • • • Tesla And Toyota Ink Deal For Electric RAV4 July 23. 2010. 2010. 02:49 PM Digital Communications: The ABCs Of Ones And Zeroes August 16. 2010. 09:56 AM Making Energy Harvesting’s Promise of Free Energy a Reality August 05. 11:53 AM Electronic Design contributing John Edwards speaks with Don Wires. 05:04 PM . 2010. 09:33 AM Electronic Design contributing editor Ron Schneiderman comments on Bloomberg Businessweek's story about former Intel CEO Andy Grove's thoughts on American jobs.

2010.com). 05:04 PM Probability Circuits Challenge Digital Logic August 17. 2010. Email address should be in the proper format (Ex: test@test. Sender email is a required field.• • Obama Takes Volt For A Short Spin As GM Increases Production August 04. 10:50 AM Solar Airplane Spends More Than A Week In The Air July 23. Your recommendation has been successfully processed. 2010. 2010. 2010. • • • 6349 Apple Feels Antenna Angst As Form Trumps Function July 20. 10:50 AM http://electronicde Close Thank you for recommending Electronic Design. 2010. Friends name is a required field. 01:15 PM Andy Grove Has A Few Thousand Words About American Jobs July 15. 09:33 AM Electronic Design contributing editor Ron Schneiderman comments on Bloomberg Businessweek's story about former Intel CEO Andy Grove's thoughts on American jobs. Close Your Name * Your Email * Sender name is a required field. 2 Friend 1Name: Email: You must enter a valid email address. Remove DC-controlled low-pass filter has variable breakpoint . Friends email is a required field. 10:58 AM Obama Takes Volt For A Short Spin As GM Increases Production August 04.

so there’s plenty of flexibility in the component selection. and it was chosen because it has excellent dc characteristics coupled with high frequency response (see the figure). The ac portion of the output signal is passed through the HA2546 high-frequency multiplier before it’s fed back to the summing junction. wrong for another task.7 MHz when Vx = 0. Consequently. the breakpoint frequency is forced to change. The component values shown yield a frequency range from 1. In the equation for the multiplier. Placing the breakpoint correctly ensures minimum distortion in the passband while yielding maximum attenuation of unwanted frequencies in the stopband. The HA2841 op amp is the main amplification element in the circuit. and Vx varies the frequency within this range. the multiplier gain changes. If digital control is advantageous. This is very hard to accomplish in multiple frequency systems because when a break frequency is placed correctly for one task it is. it’s imperative to get the point where the filter response is −3 dB (the breakpoint of the low-pass filter) placed exactly right. The HA2546 was chosen for this application because it’s extremely small time delay doesn’t introduce distortion.1 V to 80 . The described low-pass filter has a breakpoint that’s continuously variable over a range of 20 to 1 by varying the dc control voltage. determine the breakpoint frequency. As Vx changes. a DAC can easily be interfaced into the control voltage port because the control voltage ranges from 0 to 1. Rf and C are used to center the frequency range. in conjunction with Rf and C. but only the dc portion of the output signal is fed directly back to the op-amp summing junction. Both Rf and Rg set the gain. test equipment. usually by definition.5 V.By Contributing Author December 01. The feedback capacitor (C) blocks any dc multiplier errors. 1997 Share Email Print Reprints Comment Subscribe When maximum performance is demanded from communications systems. ω. The input signal is amplified by the op amp. or any other frequency-sensitive systems. so the apparent value of C changes. Voutm is the multiplier output voltage: The equation for the complete circuit response is: The control voltage (Vx). The gain stays constant regardless of the breakpoint setting. This fixes the dc gain at −Rf/Rg.

5 V.kHz when Vx = 1. The function of any filter is to allow signals of a given band of frequencies to pass unaltered while attenuating or weakening the others that are not wanted. (Vout) taken from the junction of these two components. passive filters are usually made from simple RC (Resistor-Capacitor) networks while higher frequency filters (above 100kHz) are usually made from RLC (Resistor-Inductor-Capacitor) components. reshape or reject all unwanted frequencies of an electrical signal and accept or pass only those signals wanted by the circuits designer. an electrical filter is a circuit that can be designed to modify. therefore passive RC filters attenuate the signal and have a gain of less than one. (unity). This input may be driven from a DAC to obtain digital control of the breakpoint. Simple First-order passive filters (1st order) can be made by connecting together a single resistor and a single capacitor in series across an input signal.25 V. thus it needn’t be driven by a low-impedance source. . Passive Low Pass Filter Navigation Top of Form Reset Page: 2 of 8 Bottom of Form Low Pass Filters Basically. The control input is similar to an op-amp input. (Vin) with the output signal. but the DAC output voltage must be level-shifted to 0 to 1. As there are two passive components within this type of filter design the output signal has a smaller amplitude than its corresponding input signal. In low frequency applications (up to 100kHz). Depending on which way around we connect the resistor and the capacitor with regards to the output signal determines the type of filter construction resulting in either a Low Pass Filter or a High Pass Filter.

can be easily made by connecting together in series a single Resistor with a single Capacitor as shown below. This type of filter is known generally as a 1st order Filter. the Capacitor. symbol Z and for a series circuit consisting of a single resistor in series with a single capacitor. Vr will be much lower. while the value of the resistor remains constant as the frequency changes. the reactance of a capacitor varies inversely with frequency. it can also be classed as a frequency variable potential divider circuit similar to the one we looked at in the Resistors tutorial. At low frequencies the capacitive reactance. In this type of filter arrangement the input signal (Vin) is applied to the series combination (both the Resistor and Capacitor together) but the output signal (Vout) is taken across the capacitor only. At high frequencies the reverse is true with Vc being small and Vr being large. why 1st order?. Low Pass Filter Circuit As mentioned previously in the Capacitive Reactance tutorial. because it has only "one" reactive component in the circuit. While the circuit above is that of an RC Low Pass Filter circuit. We also know that the capacitive reactance of a capacitor in an AC circuit is given as: Opposition to current flow in an AC circuit is called impedance.The Low Pass RC Filter A simple passive Low Pass Filter or LPF. R and as a result the voltage across the capacitor. In that tutorial we used the following equation to calculate the output voltage for two single resistors connected in series. (Xc) of the capacitor will be very large compared to the resistive value of the resistor. Vc will also be large while the voltage drop across the resistor. the circuit impedance is calculated as: Then by substituting our equation for impedance above into the resistive potential divider equation gives us: .

as shown below. Frequency Response We can see above. At a frequency of 10kHz. At a frequency of 100Hz. Calculate the output voltage (Vout) at a frequency of 100Hz and again at frequency of 10. by using the potential divider equation of two resistors in series and substituting for impedance we can calculate the output voltage of an RC Filter for any given frequency. the Frequency Response Curve or Bode Plot function of the low pass filter can be found. Example No1 A Low Pass Filter circuit consisting of a Resistor of 4k7Ω in series with a Capacitor of C = 47nF is connected across a 10v DC supply.9v to 0. that as the frequency increases from 100Hz to 10kHz. By plotting the output voltage against the input frequency.So.718v. Frequency Response of a 1st Order Low Pass Filter.000Hz or 10kHz. the output voltage (Vout) decreases from 9. .

When this occurs the output signal is attenuated to 70. For this type of Low Pass Filter circuit. As the filter contains a capacitor. unity until it reaches the Cut-off Frequency point ( ƒc ). all the frequencies below this cut-off. This passband zone also represents the Bandwidth of the filter.7% of the input signal value or -3dB (20 log (Vout/Vin)) of the input.707 of the input. ƒc point that are unaltered with little or no attenuation and are said to be in the filters Passband zone.The Bode Plot shows the Frequency Response of the filter to be nearly flat for low frequencies and all of the input signal is passed directly to the output. . resulting in a gain of nearly 1. the output is not half of the input signal. After this point the response of the circuit decreases giving a slope of -20dB/ Decade or (-6dB/Octave) "roll-off" as signals above this frequency become greatly attenuated. Any signal frequencies above this point cut-off point are generally said to be in the filters Stopband zone and they will be greatly attenuated. the Phase Angle ( Φ ) of the output signal LAGS behind that of the input and at the -3dB cut-off frequency ( ƒc ) and is -45o out of phase. resulting in the output voltage (the voltage across the capacitor) "lagging" behind that of the input signal. This "Cut-off". This is because the reactance of the capacitor is high at low frequencies and blocks any current flow through the capacitor. Although R = Xc. "Corner" or "Breakpoint" frequency is defined as being the frequency point where the capacitive reactance and resistance are equal. until at very high frequencies the reactance of the capacitor becomes so low that it gives the effect of a short circuit condition on the output terminals resulting in zero output. This is due to the time taken to charge the plates of the capacitor as the input voltage changes. This is because it is equal to the vector sum of the two and is therefore 0. R = Xc = 4k7Ω. The higher the input frequency applied to the filter the more the capacitor lags and the circuit becomes more and more "out of phase".

Low Pass Filter Summary So to summarize. The frequency range "above" this cut-off point is generally known as the Stop Band as the input signal is blocked or stopped from passing through. ƒc = 1/(2πRC). is generally expressed in Decibels and is a function of the output value divided by its corresponding input value and is given as: Applications of passive Low Pass Filters are in audio amplifiers and speaker systems to direct the lower frequency bass signals to the larger bass speakers or to reduce any high frequency noise or "hiss" type distortion. The gain of the filter or any filter for that matter. and this is discussed in the next tutorial. We also know that the phase shift of the circuit lags behind that . This cut-off frequency point is 0. up to a specified Cut-off frequency. the Low Pass Filter has a constant output voltage from D. can be found using the formula. we would have a circuit that produces an output frequency response curve similar to that of a High Pass Filter. ( ƒc ) point. If we were to reverse the positions of the resistor and capacitor in the circuit so that the output voltage is now taken from across the resistor. Time Constant We know from above. (0Hz). the cut-off frequency (ƒc) is given as 720Hz with an output voltage of 70.7% of the input voltage value and a phase shift angle of -45o. whilst the output signal Vout is taken from across the capacitor. When used like this in audio applications the low pass filter is sometimes called a "high-cut".The cut-off frequency point and phase shift angle can be found by using the following equation: Cut-off Frequency and Phase Shift Then for our simple example of a "Low Pass Filter" circuit above. The frequency range "below" this cutoff point ƒc is generally known as the Pass Band as the input signal is allowed to pass through the filter. A simple 1st order low pass filter can be made using a single resistor in series with a single non-polarized capacitor (or any single reactive component) across an input signal Vin.C. The phase angle of the output signal at ƒc and is -45o for a Low Pass Filter.707 or -3dB (dB = -20log Vout/Vin) of the voltage gain allowed to pass. The cut-off frequency or -3dB point. or "treble cut" filter. that the filters cut-off frequency (ƒc) is the product of the resistance (R) and the capacitance (C) in the circuit with respect to some specified frequency point and that by altering any one of the two components alters this cut-off frequency point by either increasing it or decreasing it.

A Triangular waveform consists of alternate but equal positive and negative ramps. This time constant. ƒc as. As seen below.of the input signal due to the time required to charge and then discharge the capacitor as the sine wave changes. The RC Integrator The Integrator is basically a low pass filter circuit that converts a square wave step response input signal into a triangular shaped waveform output as the capacitor charges and discharges. This combination of R and C produces a charging and discharging effect on the capacitor known as its Time Constant (τ) of the circuit as seen in the RC Circuit tutorials. is related to the cut-off frequency ƒc as. or expressed in terms of the cut-off frequency. The RC Integrator Circuit This then makes this type of circuit ideal for converting one type of electronic signal to another for use in wave-generating or wave-shaping circuits. With an AC sinusoidal signal the circuit behaves as a simple 1st order low pass filter. if the RC time constant is long compared to the time period of the input waveform the resultant output waveform will be triangular in shape and the higher the input frequency the lower will be the output amplitude compared to that of the input. tau (τ). Vout depends upon the time constant and the frequency of the input signal. . The output voltage. the response of the circuit changes dramatically and produces a circuit known commonly as an Integrator. But what if we where to change the input signal to that of a "square wave" shaped signal that has an almost vertical step input.