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Experiment 4 – The Hartley Oscillator

In the Hartley oscillator shown in Fig A. Z1, and Z2 are inductors and Z3 is an capacitor. The resistors R
and R2 and RE provide the necessary DC bias to the transistor. CE is a bypass capacitor CC1 and CC2 are
coupling capacitors. The feedback network consisting of inductors L1 and L2 , Capacitor C determine the
frequency of the oscillator.

When the supply voltage +Vcc is switched ON, a transient current is produced in the tank circuit, and
consequently damped harmonic oscillations are setup in the circuit. The current in tank circuit produces
AC voltages across L1 and L2 . As terminal 3 is earthed, it will be at zero potential.

If terminal is at positive potential with respect to 3 at any instant, then terminal 2 will be at negative
potential with respect to 3 at the same instant. Thus, the phase difference between the terminals 1 and
2 is always 1800. In the CE mode, the transistor provides the phase difference of 1800 between the
input and output. Therefore, the total phase shift is 3600. The frequency of oscillations is f = 1/2π√LC
where L= L1 + L2.


Oscillators are circuits that produce periodic waveforms without input other than perhaps a trigger.
They generally use some form of active device, lamp, or crystal, surrounded by passive devices such as
resistors, capacitors, and inductors, to generate the output. There are two main classes of oscillator:
relaxation and sinusoidal. Relaxation oscillators generate the triangular, sawtooth and other
nonsinuoidal waveforms. Sinusoidal oscillators consist of amplifiers with external components used to
generate oscillation, or crystals that internally generate the oscillation. The focus here is on sine wave
oscillators, created using operational amplifiers op amps. Sine wave oscillators are used as references or
test waveforms by many circuits. An oscillator is a type of feedback amplifier in which part of the output
is fed back to the input via a feedback circuit. If the signal fed back is of proper magnitude and phase,
the circuit produces alternating currents or voltages. Two requirements for oscillation are: 1. The
magnitude of the loop gain AVB must be at least 1, and 2. The total phase shift of the loop gain AVB
must be equal to 0° or 360°. If the amplifier causes a phase shift of 180°, the feedback circuit must
provide an additional phase shift of 180° so that the total phase shift around the loop is 360°.

Hartley Oscillator : The Hartley oscillator is one of the simplest and best known oscillators and is used
extensively in circuits, which work at radio frequencies. Fig. 1 shows the basic Hartley oscillator circuit
configuration. The transistor is in voltage divider bias which sets up Q-point of the circuit. The output
voltage is fed back to the base and sustains oscillations developed across the tank circuit, provided there
is enough voltage gain at the oscillation frequency.

Fig. 1 The resonant frequency of the Hartley oscillator can be calculated from the tank circuit used. We
can calculate the approx. resonant frequency as

CL2 1F T r π = …………………………… (1) Here, the Inductor used is the equivalent Inductance. In Hartley
oscillator the circulating current passes through the series combination of L1 and L2. Therefore
equivalent Inductance is, LT = L1 + L2 + 2 M ……….…………… (2) Where, M is the mutual inductance
between two inductors. M = K √ L1 L2 ………………………… (3) Where, K is the coefficient of coupling, lies
between 0 to 1.The coefficient of coupling gives the extent to which two inductors are couple.

Starting condition for oscillations is AB > l Where, B is approx. equal to L2/L1. The feedback should be
enough to start oscillations under all conditions as different transistor, temperature, voltage, etc. but it
should not be much that you lose more output than necessary. The resonant frequency can be changed
by either changing the value of inductor or changing the value of capacitor but the combination of the
three components should satisfy the above given two conditions for oscillation.


The Hartley Oscillator consists of a parallel LC resonator tank circuit whose

feedback is achieved by way of an inductive divider. Like most oscillator circuits,
the Hartley oscillator exists in several forms, with the most common form being
the transistor circuit above.
This Hartley Oscillator configuration has a tuned tank circuit with its resonant
coil tapped to feed a fraction of the output signal back to the emitter of the
transistor. Since the output of the transistor’s emitter is always “in-phase” with
the output at the collector, this feedback signal is positive. The oscillating
frequency which is a sine-wave voltage is determined by the resonance
frequency of the tank circuit.

Hartley oscillator is very popular and is commonly used as a local oscillator in

radio receivers. It has two main advantages viz… Adaptability to wide range of
frequencies and easy to tune. The tank circuit is made up of L1, L2, and C1. The
coil L1 is inductively coupled to coil L2, the combination of two functions acts as
auto transformer. The resistances R2 and R3 provide the necessary biasing. The
capacitance C2 blocks the d.c component. The frequency of oscillations is
determined by the values of L1, L2 and C1 and is given by,

F=1/(2 (C1(√L1+L2)))

The energy supplied to the tank circuit is of correct phase. The auto transformer
( L1 and L2 forms as an auto transformer) provides 180˚ out of phase. Also
another 180˚ is produced by the transistor. In this way, energy feedback to the
tank circuit is in phase with the generated oscillations
Frequency of oscillations is calculated and compared with theoretical values.
The Hartley oscillator is an electronic oscillator circuit in which the oscillation
frequency is determined by a tuned circuit consisting of capacitors and inductors,
that is, an LC oscillator. The Hartley oscillator is distinguished by a tank circuit
consisting of two series-connected coils (or, often, a tapped coil) in parallel with
a capacitor, with an amplifier between the relatively high impedance across the
entire LC tank and the relatively low voltage/high current point between the
coils. The Hartley oscillator is the dual of the Colpitts oscillator which uses a
voltage divider made of two capacitors rather than two inductors. Although there
is no requirement for there to be mutual coupling between the two coil
segments, the circuit is usually implemented using a tapped coil, with the
feedback taken from the tap, as shown here. The optimal tapping point (or ratio
of coil inductances) depends on the amplifying device used, which may be a
bipolar junction transistor. Thus, the Hartley oscillator was designed and its
output waveform was verified.

The Hartley oscillator is an electronic oscillator circuit in which the oscillation frequency is
determined by the tuned circuit consisting of capacitors and inductors, that is, an LC
oscillator. The Hartley oscillator was invented by Hartley while he was working in the
Research Laboratory of the Western Electric Company. The circuit was invented in 1915 by
American engineer Ralph Hartley. The personal feature of Hartley oscillator is that the tuned
circuit consists of a single capacitor in parallel with two inductors are in series or a single
tapped inductor, and the feedback signal needed for oscillation is taken from the center
connection of the two inductors.
What are Hartley Oscillators?
Hartley oscillator is inductively coupled, variable frequency oscillators where the oscillator
may be a series or shunt fed. Hartley oscillators is the advantage of having one tuning
capacitor and one center tapped inductor. This processor simplifies the construction of a
Hartley oscillator circuit.

Hartley Oscillator Circuit and Working

The circuit diagram of a Hartley oscillator is shown in the below figure. An NPN transistor
connected in a common emitter configuration works as the active device in amplifier stage.
R1 and R2 are biasing resistors and RFC is the radio frequency choke, which provides the
isolation between AC and DC operation.
At high frequencies, the reactance value of this choke is very high, hence it can be treated as
an open circuit. The reactance is zero for DC condition, hence causes no problem for DC
capacitors. The CE is the emitter bypass capacitor and RE is also be a biasing resistor. The
CC1 and CC2 are the coupling capacitors.

Hartley Oscillator Circuit

When the DC supply (Vcc) is given to the circuit, the collector current starts raising and
begins with the charging of the capacitor C. Once capacitor C is fully charged, it starts
discharging through L1 and L2 and again starts charging.

This back-and-fourth voltage waveform is a sine wave which is a small and leads with its
negative alteration. It will eventually die out unless it is amplified.

Now the transistor comes into the picture. The sine wave generated by the tank circuit is
coupled to the base of the transistor through the capacitor CC1.
Since the transistor is configured as common-emitter, it takes the input from tank circuit and
inverts it to a standard sine wave with a leading positive alteration.

Thus the transistor provides amplification along with inversion to amplify and correct the
signal generated by the tank circuit. The mutual inductance between L1 and L2 provides the
feedback of energy from collector-emitter circuit to the base-emitter circuit.

The frequency of oscillations in this circuit is

fo = 1/ (2π √ (Leq C))

Where Leq is the total inductance of coils in the tank circuit is given as

Leq = L1 + L2 + 2M
For a practical circuit, if L1 = L2 = L and the mutual inductance are neglected, then the
frequency of oscillations can be simplified as

fo = 1/ (2π √ (2 L C))
Hartley Oscillator Circuit Using Op-Amp
The Hartley oscillator can be implemented by using an operational amplifier and its typical
arrangement is shown in the below figure. This type of circuit facilitates the gain adjustment
by using feedback resistance and input resistance.
In transistorized Hartley oscillator, the gain depending up on the tank circuit elements like
L1 and L2 whereas in Op-amp oscillator gain is less depends on the tank circuit elements and
hence provides greater frequency stability.

Hartley Oscillator using Op-Amp

The operation of this circuit is similar to the transistor version of Hartley oscillator. The sine
wave is generated by the feedback circuit and it’s coupled with the op-amp section. Then this
wave is stabilized and inverted by the amplifier.

The frequency of an oscillator is varied by using a variable capacitor in the tank circuit,
keeping the feedback ratio and the amplitude of the output is constant for over a frequency
range. The frequency of oscillations for this type of oscillator is same as the above discussed
oscillator and is given as

fo = 1/ (2π √ (Leq C))

Where: Leq = L1 + L2 + 2M
Leq = L1 + L2
To generate the oscillation from this circuit, the amplifier gain must and should selected
greater than or at least equal to the ratio of two inductances.

Av = L1 / L2
If the mutual inductance exists between L1 and L2 because the common core of these two
coils, then the gain becomes

Av = (L1 + M) / (L2 + M)
 Instead of two separate coils L1 and L2, a single coil of bare wire can be used and the
coil grounded at any desired point along it.
 By using a variable capacitor or by making core movable (varying the inductance),
frequency of oscillations can be varied.
 Very few components are needed, including either two fixed inductors or a tapped coil.
 The amplitude of the output remains constant over the working frequency range.
 It cannot be used as a low frequency oscillator since the value of inductors becomes
large and the size of the inductors becomes large.
 The harmonic content in the output of this oscillator is very high and hence it is not
suitable for the applications which require a pure sine wave.
 The Hartley oscillator is to produce a sine wave with the desired frequency
 Hartley oscillators are mainly used as radio receivers. Also note that due to its wide
range of frequencies, it is the most popular oscillator
 The Hartley oscillator is Suitable for oscillations in RF (Radio-Frequency) range, up to
Thus, this is all about hartley oscillator circuit theory working and applications.
Experiment 5 – Modulation Index and Power Considerations

From the results, for undistorted AM to occur, the modulating signal voltage must be less
than the carrier voltage Therefore the relationship between the amplitude of the modulating
signal and the amplitude of the carrier signal is important. This relationship, known as the
modulation index m (also called the modulating factor or coefficient, or the degree of
modulation. If the amplitude of the modulating voltage is higher than the carrier voltage,
m will be greater than 1, causing distortion of the modulated waveform. If the distortion is
great enough, the intelligence signal becomes unintelligible. Distortion of voice
transmissions produces garbled, harsh, or unnatural sounds in the speaker. A sine wave
information signal is modulating a sine wave carrier, but when the modulating voltage is
much greater than the carrier voltage, resulting in a condition called overmodulation. If this
occured, the waveform is flattened at the zero line. The received signal will produce an
output waveform in the shape of the envelope, which in this case is a sine wave whose
negative peaks have been clipped off. If the amplitude of the modulating signal is less than
the carrier amplitude, no distortion will occur. The ideal condition for AM is when or ,
which gives 100 percent modulation. This results in the greatest output power at the
transmitter and the greatest output voltage at the receiver, with no distortion.
In radio transmission, the AM signal is amplified by a power amplifier and fed to
the antenna with a characteristic impedance that is ideally, but not necessarily, almost pure
resistance. The AM signal is really a composite of several signal voltages, namely, the
carrier and the two sidebands, and each of these signals produces power in the antenna. In
the real world, it is difficult to determine AM power by measuring the output voltage and
calculating the power with the expression However, it is easy to measure the current in the
load. For example, you can use an RF ammeter connected in series with an antenna to
observe antenna current. The carrier itself conveys no information. The carrier can be
transmitted and received, but unless modulation occurs, no information will be transmitted.
When modulation occurs, sidebands are produced. It is easy to conclude, therefore, that all
the transmitted information is contained within the sidebands. Only one-third of the total
transmitted power is allotted to the sidebands, and the remaining two-thirds is literally
wasted on the carrier.
In amplitude modulation, an increase or a decrease in the amplitude of the
modulating signal causes a corresponding increase or decrease in both the positive and the
negative peaks of the carrier amplitude. The relationship between the amplitudes of the
modulating signal and the carrier is expressed as the modulation index m, a number
between 0 and 1. If the amplitude of the modulating voltage is higher than the carrier
voltage then distortion, or overmodulation, will result. When a carrier is modulated by an
information signal, new signals at different frequencies are generated. These side
frequencies, or sidebands, occur in the frequency spectrum directly above and below the
carrier frequency. An AM signal is a composite of several signal voltages, the carrier, and
the two sidebands, each of which produces power in the antenna. m 1, Total transmitted
power is the sum of the carrier power and the power in the two sidebands.

Preventing overmodulation is tricky. For example, at different times during voice

transmission voices will go from low amplitude to high amplitude. Normally, the amplitude
of the modulating signal is adjusted so that only the voice peaks produce 100 percent
modulation. This prevents overmodulation and distortion. Automatic circuits called
compression circuits solve this problem by amplifying the lower-level signals and
suppressing or compressing the higher-level signals. The result is a higher average power
output level without overmodulation. Distortion caused by overmodulation also produces
adjacent channel interference. Distortion produces a non sinusoidal information signal.
According to Fourier theory, any nonsinusoidal signal can be treated as a fundamental sine
wave at the frequency of the information signal plus harmonics. Obviously, these
harmonics also modulate the carrier and can cause interference with other signals on
channels adjacent to the carrier.

The purpose of this simulation is to demonstrate the various characteristics of AM

modulation measuring techniques and power efficiency in an AM spectrum. The
modulation index of an amplitude modulated signal refers to the ratio of the
amplitude of the carrier as compared with that of the message signal.
The modulation index or the percentage of modulation is an important part of the
modulation process. An under-modulated AM signal is not an efficient means of
transmitting information due to power considerations. At a modulation index of 1,
both the upper and lower sidebands have amplitudes which are half of that of the
carrier amplitude. Over modulation occurs with a modulation index of greater than
one. Over modulation causes distortion at the receiver as well as interference with
other stations due to the undesired sideband frequencies that are generated. Ideally, a
modulation index of one is desirable. In practice, however, the envelope should be
slightly under modulated to make allowances for diode clipping losses during the
demodulation process.

The modulation index can be determined from the envelope itself which will be
displayed on the oscilloscope. As the amplitude of the message signal is increased,
extra lobes appear in the envelope. These lobes indicate over modulation. As the
amplitude of the message signal is decreased below 100% modulation.

The percentage of modulation may be found by multiplying the modulation index by

100. The modulation index may also be determined from the frequency spectrum by
measuring the difference in dB between the amplitude of the carrier and the
amplitude of the sidebands.

Amplitude modulation is not an efficient means of transmitting voice and music

information. At a modulation index of one, AM modulators are only 33% efficient.
This is due to the sidebands only containing one third of the total power. The other
two thirds are used up by the carrier, which carries no useful information. Other more
efficient methods such as Double Sideband which suppresses the carrier and even
Single Sideband which suppresses the carrier and one sideband are sometimes used.
The inherent problem with these two methods is the complexity of the receivers
necessary to demodulate the signals. Amplitude modulation remains a popular
modulation technique because the simplicity of the receivers involved renders them
inexpensive and small in size.
The total power contained within an AM signal is the addition of the sideband power
and the carrier power, both in mW
The transmission efficiency is a comparison of the useful power contained in the
sidebands to the unused power contained in the carrier. The transmission efficiency
may also be determined from the modulation index m. and with a modulation index
of 1, the maximum efficiency.

In amplitude modulation, the carrier frequency is constant, on the other hand, the value of thecarrier
amplitude varies depending on the amplitude the modulating signal. The envelope of themodulated
signal is the same shape as the modulating signal. Modulation index is the ratio of the peak voltage
of the modulating signal and the peakvoltage of the unmodulated carrier. It is directly proportional to
the peak voltage of the modulatingsignal and inversely proportional to the peak voltage of the carrier
signal. From the modulatedcarrier displayed on an oscilloscope, the percent modulation can be
measured through the maximumand the minimum values of the modulating signal, The voltage of
each side frequency depends on carrier voltage and the modulation index. Thebandwidth is twice
the modulating frequency. A square wave which is a complex modulating signalconsists of many
side frequencies generated.
Experiment 6 - AM signal demodulation techniques

CONCLUSIONS: • Noise performance of a coherent detector is always better than that of a noncoherent
detector • Due to the frequency shifting property of analog multiplier, it can be used to implement each
AM modulator and demodulator • Low-pass filter is used in each detector, its duty is to suppress the
highfrequency output • The product detector is capable of restoring the message signal carried by each
AM modulation scheme • Until the carrier is available at the detector, there is no need for the
transmission of carrier at least at a high power level. Recall: Transmission of carrier is a waste of power
since it does not carry information except its phase and frequency
AM signals are detected or demodulated using Square law demodulator or envelope detector.
The demodulators extract the information from the received AM signal.

Square law demodulators are highly nonlinear in low voltage region so they are used for low
level modulated signals. Envelope detectors extract the envelope of the AM wave.

An Amplitude Modulated signal is composed of both low frequency and high frequency
components. The amplitude of the high frequency (carrier) of the signal is controlled by the low
frequency (modulating) signal. The envelope of the signal is created by the low frequency
signal. If the modulating signal is sinusoidal, then the envelope of the modulated Radio
Frequency (RF) signal will also be sinusoidal. This would be the case in a common AM radio.
The low frequency signal would be an audio signal and the high frequency would be the
transmitting frequency of the AM radio station. Shown in Figure 8-1 is an example of an AM
signal in the time domain.
Amplitude modulation: Modulation is a process of translating information signal from low band
frequency to high band frequency that is suits the transmission medium. Information signal is
usually of low frequency, so it cannot travel far. It needs a carrier signal of higher frequency for
long distance destination. The inputs are carrier and information (modulating) signals while the
output is called the modulated signal. Amplitude Modulation (AM) refers to the modulation
technique where the carrier’s amplitude is varied in accordance to the instantaneous value of
the modulating or baseband signal’s amplitude. An AM signal is represented as:

Sinusoidal carrier wave C(t) given as: c(t) = A cos wct A = Max amplitude of the
carrier wave Wc = carrier frequency AM wave can
be expressed as: s(t) = x(t) cos wct + A cos wct s(t) = [A + x(t) ] cos wct

Modulation Index: The amount by which the amplitude of the carrier wave increases and
decreases depends on the amplitude of the information signal and is known as modulation
index or depth of modulation. The extent of amplitude variation in AM about a unmodulated
carrier amplitude is measured in terms of a factor called modulation index.

m = Vmax-Vmin X 100 % Vmax+ Vmin 3. Double

side band transmitter: The transmitter circuit produces the AM signal which is used to carry
information over transmission to the receiver.

Modulation: The Channel 1 we observed the AM signal,channel 3 is message signal and channel 2
output of adder when dc component is added.

On changing the value of m the waveform is changing. For values of m>1 the envelope is not a copy
of AM signal.

Demodulation: The Channel 1 we observed the AM signal, channel 3 is message signal and channel 2
demodulated signal of envelope detector.

The output signal is distorted when m>1.This was due to distortion of envelope of AM signal which
was fed to envelope detector.

We cannot use envelope detector for DSBSC signal demodulation as the output signal and frequency
double of message signal. We need a coherent detector for demodulating DSBSC signal. One can use an
envelope detector if one has an idea of what is the sign of the signal initially

Amplitude modulation refers to any method of modulating an electromagnetic carrier frequency
by varying its amplitude in accordance with the message intelligence that is to be transmitted.
This is accomplished by heterodyning the intelligence frequency with the carrier frequency. The
vector summation of the carrier, sum, and difference frequencies causes the modulation
envelope to vary in amplitude at the intelligence frequency, as discussed in chapter 1. In this
section we will discuss several circuits that can be used to recover this intelligence from the
variations in the modulation envelope.

The detection of AM signals ordinarily is accomplished by means of a diode rectifier, which may
be either a vacuum tube or a semiconductor diode. The basic detector circuit is shown in its
simplest form in view (A) of figure 3-5. Views (B), (C), and (D) show the circuit waveforms. The
demodulator must meet three requirements: (1) It must be sensitive to the type of modulation
applied at the input, (2) it must be nonlinear, and (3) it must provide filtering. Remember that the
AM waveform appears like the diagram of view (B) and the amplitude variations of the peaks
represent the original audio signal, but no modulating signal frequencies exist in this waveform.
The waveform contains only three rf frequencies: (1) the carrier frequency, (2) the sum
frequency, and (3) the difference frequency. The modulating intelligence is contained in the
difference between these frequencies. The vector addition of these frequencies provides the
modulation envelope which approximates the original modulating waveform. It is this modulation
envelope that the DIODE DETECTORS use to reproduce the original modulating frequencies.
The amplitude modulation is the simplest modulation technique among the wide verity of modulation
techniques in use. In this technique the amplitude of a high frequency signal is varied corresponding to the
variation in the amplitude of the low frequency modulating signal. The amplitude modulation of a high
frequency signal is easy to achieve and the demodulation is also less complex compared to other
techniques. The high frequency signal which is modulated to carry the low frequency audio signals are
called ‘carrier frequency’ since they are used to carry the message signal to distant places with the help of
wireless transmission devices. The audio signals used for modulation is called ‘modulating signal’ or
‘message signal’ or ‘base band signal’.
The demodulation of an AM wave can be done with only few components and unlike most of the
demodulation technique there is no synchronization required between the modulator and demodulator
circuits. The message signal appears as an envelope over the amplitude of the carrier wave and the
demodulator make use of this to extract the modulating signal from the carrier and hence the technique of
AM modulation is called envelope detection.

The AM wave in most of the cases will be a sine wave with both the half cycles and the Rectification is a
process through which either one of the half cycles is eliminated so as to make the AC wave to a DC voltage
with high frequency ripples and varying amplitude. The amplitude of the DC voltage still contains the
variations which have been there in it before the rectification.
The high frequency ripples are eliminated using a filter circuit making the DC voltage smooth and
continuous however maintaining the low frequency variations in the amplitude. The output of the filter circuit
resembles the original modulating message wave. The demodulation is almost complete with the filter
circuit but to use the demodulated signal for some useful purpose one more step has to be performed.
The output of the filter circuit is very small in amplitude and the noise will be so much that the Signal to
Noise Ratio (SNR) is very low. To increase the amplitude of the demodulated signal and to improve the
SNR, the amplification of the demodulated signal is necessary.

In this review paper, traditional and novel demodulation methods applicable to amplitude-modulation
atomic force microscopy are implemented on a widely used digital processing system. As a crucial
bandwidth-limiting component in the z-axis feedback loop of an atomic force microscope, the purpose
of the demodulator is to obtain estimates of amplitude and phase of the cantilever deflection signal in
the presence of sensor noise or additional distinct frequency components. Specifically for modern
multifrequency techniques, where higher harmonic and/or higher eigenmode contributions are present
in the oscillation signal, the fidelity of the estimates obtained from some demodulation techniques is
not guaranteed. To enable a rigorous comparison, the performance metrics tracking bandwidth,
implementation complexity and sensitivity to other frequency components are experimentally evaluated
for each method. Finally, the significance of an adequate demodulator bandwidth is highlighted during
high-speed tapping-mode atomic force microscopy experiments in constant-height mode.

Amplitude modulation is one of the oldest forms of modulation in analog communication systems,
mostly due to its simplicity of implementation [1]. Not only is the modulation principle used in many
forms of scientific instruments and sensors [2–4], but numerous fields of research also rely on the
improved detection sensitivity made available by this technique [5–7].

A number of demodulation techniques can be found in the existing literature, some of which have found
regular use in commercial AFM systems. The performance metrics, tracking bandwidth and sensitivity to
other frequency components, are especially important in high-speed [15–18] and multifrequency AFM
[19] applications. As the tracking bandwidth directly affects the achievable scan rate, it should be
maximized. However, this also increases the noise bandwidth. On the other hand, in multifrequency
AFM applications, the sensitivity to other frequency components is of greatest concern. These
applications may include multiple eigenmode contributions [20–22], higher harmonics [23–25], and
multi-tone near-resonance frequency components [26–28].

The process of demodulation always requires a nonlinear operation on a signal in order to estimate a
baseband signal proportional to the modulation of the carrier. Based on this nonlinearity, the
demodulation methods can be broadly classified as methods using rectification (non-synchronous
detection) and methods using mixing with a reference oscillator signal (synchronous detection). For
demodulators of the latter class, the reference signal can be either a square wave, most commonly used
for analog implementations, or a sinusoid, most commonly used for digital implementations as is the
case in this paper. Within the class of demodulators using mixing, further classification can be made
based on how the 2f c component from the mixing process is filtered out. While the open-loop methods
rely on either general or numerically precise low-pass filters, the closed-loop methods employ feedback
of the parameterized signal states to eliminate this component. An overview of the demodulator
classification is shown in Fig. 2. As will be discussed in the course of this paper, each class has distinct
properties with regards to tracking bandwidth, implementation complexity and sensitivity to other
frequency components.

The performance metrics used for the comparison of the demodulation methods are implementation
complexity, tracking bandwidth, sensitivity to other frequency components and total integrated noise of
the amplitude estimate as a function of the tracking bandwidth. The implementation complexity is
qualitatively evaluated based on the maximum free-running sample rate achieved by the digital signal
processing system. Where applicable, latencies arising from fixed time-delays in the implementation of
the methods are highlighted. The tracking bandwidth is defined as the frequency f −3dB, at which the
amplitude estimate drops by −3 dB. This figure of merit is important to determine both the speed of
convergence and the amount of noise suppression in the estimate. This relationship is clearly identified
by plotting the total integrated noise of the amplitude estimate against the tracking bandwidth for a
known input noise density. Lastly, the sensitivity to other frequency components is evaluated to
determine the ability of each method to filter out any signal at frequencies other than the carrier
frequency of interest.

Table 1 compares the amplitude estimation techniques discussed in this section. From the classification
shown in Fig. 2, methods based on rectification can only obtain amplitude estimates while methods
based on mixing with an internal reference oscillator can recover both amplitude and phase.
Additionally, some of these methods require precise synchronization between the sampling frequency
and reference signal. In practice, this requires a single system clock for the sampling time and signal
generation. While this property is not a disadvantage when using FPGA-based processing, it does affect
the choice of carrier frequencies for the coherent demodulator if the integral is to be precise.

The aforementioned demodulation techniques were implemented digitally on a common

DSP system (National Instruments USB-7855R with Kintex-7 70T FPGA) using dedicated
LabVIEW blocks and simple scalar operations. This system was chosen due to its system-
oriented graphical design approach, which makes it an accessible FPGA tool without the
need for knowledge of hardware description languages.
For a fair comparison and to rule out varying amounts of quantization noise, all
demodulation methods are run at a normalized sample frequency of f s = 300 kHz. However,
this may not do full justice to the fastest running methods as these techniques might
benefit from noise reduction due to over-sampling. Additionally, the methods requiring
accurate timing will also benefit from more samples per oscillation period.

The process of separating or extracting the modulation from a signal is called demodulation or detection.
For amplitude modulation, the process of demodulation or detection can be accomplished very simply
using a diode, or it may be achieved in other ways that provide more effective demodulation of the
As amplitude modulation is still widely used as a result of its simplicity, receivers incorporating AM
demodulators are manufactured in quantities of many millions each year. Within these radios a simple
AM detector consisting of a diode is used.

AM demodulation or detection process

In order to look at the amplitude demodulation process it is necessary to first look at the format of an AM
An AM signal consists of a carrier which acts as the reference. Any modulation that is applied then appears
as sidebands which stretch out either side of the signal - each sideband is a mirror image of the other.

Spectrum of an amplitude modulated, AM signal

Within the overall AM signal the carrier possess the majority of the power - a fully modulated, i.e. 100%
modulation - AM signal has sidebands which have 25% that of the main carrier.

Note on Amplitude Modulation:

As the name implies, Amplitude Modulation, AM, is a form of modulation in which the amplitude or intensity of the
waveform is varied in line with the waveform of the modulating signal. As part of the modulation process, sidebands are
created that extend out either side of the carrier..

Read more about Amplitude Modulation

When demodulating a signal, two basic steps may be considered:

 Create baseband signal: The main element of AM demodulation is to create the baseband signal.
This can be achieved in a number of ways - one of the easiest is to use a simple diode and rectify
the signal. This leaves elements of the original RF signal. When other forms of demodulation are
used, they too leave some elements of an RF signal.
 Filter: The filtering removes any unwanted high frequency elements from the demodulation
process. The audio can then be presented to further stages for audio amplification, etc.
The AM demodulation process is outlined in the diagram below. This particular example applies
particularly to a diode detector.

Basics of AM demodulation / detection

Types of AM demodulator
There are a number of ways in which an AM signal can be demodulated. There is a balance that needs to
be made of the performance of the circuit that is required against the complexity, and hence the cost that
can be tolerated.
The major types of AM demodulator are:

 Diode AM detector: This is by far the simplest form of AM demodulator or detector, requiring
just a semiconductor (or other form) of diode along with a capacitor to remove the high frequency
components. It suffers from a number of disadvantages, but its performance is more than
adequate for most applications including broadcast receivers where cost is a significant driver.
 Synchronous AM detector: This form of AM detector offers a higher level of performance, but at
the cost of considerably the use of considerably more components. This means that it is only used
in receivers where the levels of performance are paramount and can justify the additional
component costs.
Both types of detector are widely used, although the diode detector is far more common in view of its
simplicity and the fact that it is quite adequate for broadcast applications where performance is not
normally an issue.

Demodulation is a key process in the reception of any amplitude modulated signals.

Demodulation is the process by which the original information bearing signal, i.e. the modulation is
extracted from the incoming overall received signal.

The process of demodulation for signals using amplitude modulation can be achieved in a number of
different techniques, each of which has its own advantage.

The demodulator is the circuit, or for a software defined radio, the software that is used to recover the
information content from the overall incoming modulated signal.

Detection or demodulation
The terms detection and demodulation are often used when referring to the overall demodulation
process. Essentially the terms describe the same process, and the same circuits.

Terms like diode detector, synchronous detector and product detector are widely used. But the term
demodulation tends to be used more widely when referring to the process of extracting the modulation
from the signal.

AM amplitude modulation demodulation principle

The term detection is the older term dating back to the early days of radio.

The term demodulation is probably more accurate in that it refers to the process of demodulation, i.e.
extracting the modulation from the signal.

That said both terms can be used equally well, although modern terminology tends to err towards the use
of the words demodulation and demodulator.

AM demodulation techniques
There are a number of techniques that can be used to demodulate AM signals. Different types are used in
different applications to suit their performance and cost.

 Diode rectifier envelope detector: This form of detector is the simplest form, only requiring a single
diode and a couple of other low cost components. The performance is adequate for low cost AM
broadcast radios, but it does not meet the standards of other forms of demodulation. Read more about
diode envelope detector.
 Product detector: It is possible to demodulate amplitude modulated signals with a receiver that
incorporates a product detector of mixer and a local beat frequency oscillator or carrier injection
oscillator. In its basic form, the local oscillator is not synchronised to the incoming signal carrier.
 Synchronous detection: Synchronous detection provides the optimum performance. It uses a mixer
or product detector with a local oscillator signal that is synchronised to the incoming signal carrier.
This provides many advantages over the other methods of AM demodulation. Read more about
synchronous detector.