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What Is a Pulse Amplifier?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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A pulse amplifier is a device that is used to supply either a wide range of power or a large amount of power to a device. This device can work with currents or with voltage. Generally it is used together with lasers for industrial purposes or to test scientific or military devices.

The basic operation of a pulse amplifier is as follows. The device receives a pulse from a pulse generator, which is a form of circuitry that produces electronic pulses for laboratory uses. Knobs on the pulse amplifier can be used to set the range of energy supplied. If the amount of energy that an amplifier produces falls above or below this number, then no energy is provided to the output.

Pyrotechnic devices are commonly powered by pulse amplifiers. They can be used to create pyrotechnic shocks, which are intense explosions of heat energy. A reason why a person might want to create such a shock would be to test and research something like a spacecraft or other piece of large equipment that may have to endure similar intense bursts of energy as a part of its regular use.

A curve tracer may also receive energy from a pulse amplifier. These are electronic devices that measure pulses and can simulate how various other electronics will react when subjected to pulses of energy. They may test how semiconductors and other common high-power devices react to a power surge.

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Lasers are another common receiver of energy from a pulse amplifier. These types of lasers are commonly used for testing in laboratory, military, and industrial environments. The energy regulated by the amplifier can supply the amount of energy necessary to make simple laser light or enough for a powerful heat-creating laser.

There are problems that may occur when a pulse amplifier is used. "Parasitic lasing" can occur and affect the results of a study. This is where an amplifier receives and increases an unintended input signal and sends it to the source device. Other forms of unwanted signal noise can interfere with the output of an amplifier as well. The controls on a pulse amplifier can be adjusted to minimize the interference of unwanted and unintended signals to ensure proper results.

With the advancements in laser and fiber optic technology, the uses for pulse amplification have grown. Though the devices used for amplification have become smaller physically, they still operate on the same principles as they did decades ago. They will continue to be used in a variety of scientific and industrial settings.

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