crystal oscillator

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An oscillator in which a piezoelectric crystal is used to determine the frequency. An alternating electric field applied to two metallic films sputtered onto the parallel faces of a crystal, usually of quartz, causes it to vibrate at its natural frequency; this frequency can be in the kilohertz or megahertz range, depending on how the crystal is cut. The mechanical vibrations in turn create an alternating electric field across the crystal that does not suffer from frequency drift. The device can be used to replace the tuned circuit in an oscillator by providing the resonant frequency or it can be coupled to the oscillator circuit, which is tuned approximately to the crystal frequency. In this type, the crystal prevents frequency drift. The device is widely used in quartz clocks and watches.

Subjects: Physics.

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