Portal:Engineering

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Introduction

The InSight lander with solar panels deployed in a cleanroom

Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

The term engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise".

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Waveguide-post-filter.JPG
A waveguide filter is an electronic filter that is constructed with waveguide technology. Waveguides are hollow metal tubes inside which an electromagnetic wave may be transmitted. Filters are devices used to allow signals at some frequencies to pass (the passband), while others are rejected (the stopband). Filters are a basic component of electronic engineering designs and have numerous applications. These include selection of signals and limitation of noise. Waveguide filters are most useful in the microwave band of frequencies, where they are a convenient size and have low loss. Examples of microwave filter use are found in satellite communications, telephone networks, and television broadcasting.

Waveguide filters were developed during World War II to meet the needs of radar and electronic countermeasures, but afterwards soon found civilian applications such as use in microwave links. Much of post-war development was concerned with reducing the bulk and weight of these filters, first by using new analysis techniques that led to elimination of unnecessary components, then by innovations such as dual-mode cavities and novel materials such as ceramic resonators.

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ua741 IC
Credit: Teravolt

An operational amplifier (often op-amp or opamp) is a DC-coupled high-gain electronic voltage amplifier with a differential input and, usually, a single-ended output. In this configuration, an op-amp produces an output potential (relative to circuit ground) that is typically hundreds of thousands of times larger than the potential difference between its input terminals. Operational amplifiers had their origins in analog computers, where they were used to perform mathematical operations in many linear, non-linear and frequency-dependent circuits. The popularity of the op-amp as a building block in analog circuits is due to its versatility. Due to negative feedback, the characteristics of an op-amp circuit, its gain, input and output impedance, bandwidth etc. are determined by external components and have little dependence on temperature coefficients or manufacturing variations in the op-amp itself.

Op-amps are among the most widely used electronic devices today, being used in a vast array of consumer, industrial, and scientific devices. Many standard IC op-amps cost only a few cents in moderate production volume; however some integrated or hybrid operational amplifiers with special performance specifications may cost over $100 US in small quantities. Op-amps may be packaged as components, or used as elements of more complex integrated circuits.

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