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Noise—Friend and Foe of Engineers

Authored on: Jan 21, 2009 by Wolfgang Damm

Technical Paper

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Foe—agreed, but friend? How can noise be appreciated by engineers who labor at the edge of technology when trying to move signals and information as fast as possible from A to B? Isn't noise something we all want to avoid and eliminate? This column addresses engineers who are interested in exploring the concept of utilizing noise for test and measurement purposes. It discusses how white Gaussian noise can be employed as a versatile signal source. A short introduction discusses causes, sources, and quantities relevant to noise, followed by two application examples that utilize noise: noise as a broadband reference and noise load to determine optimal system operation levels.

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