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Define carrier frequency and sidebands in amplitude modulation (AM).

1 Answer

In amplitude modulation (AM), carrier frequency and sidebands play crucial roles in transmitting information through radio waves. AM is a modulation technique used in radio communication to superimpose an information-bearing signal onto a high-frequency carrier wave.

Carrier Frequency:
The carrier frequency is a constant, high-frequency sinusoidal waveform that forms the basis of the AM signal. It typically falls within the radio frequency (RF) range. The carrier wave is the carrier of the entire transmitted signal and provides the means to propagate the signal through the air or a transmission medium. In AM, the amplitude of the carrier wave remains constant, but its frequency remains unchanged throughout the modulation process.

Sidebands:
Sidebands are additional frequency components that are created when an information signal (such as voice or music) is modulated onto the carrier wave. Modulation involves varying the amplitude of the carrier wave in accordance with the variations in the amplitude of the information signal. This variation causes the frequency spectrum of the carrier wave to split into two sidebands on either side of the carrier frequency.

There are two main sidebands:

Upper Sideband (USB): This is the frequency range above the carrier frequency. It contains a copy of the original information signal, shifted in frequency by an amount equal to the frequency of the information signal.

Lower Sideband (LSB): This is the frequency range below the carrier frequency. Like the upper sideband, it contains a copy of the original information signal, but shifted in frequency by the same amount as the frequency of the information signal.

Collectively, the carrier frequency and the two sidebands together form the complete AM signal. The sidebands carry the actual information to be transmitted, and the carrier itself doesn't carry any information; it merely serves as a reference for the modulation process. In the receiver, the sidebands are extracted and demodulated to retrieve the original information signal.

In summary, carrier frequency is the unmodulated high-frequency waveform used as a carrier for transmission, and sidebands are the frequency ranges containing the modulated information signal that appear on either side of the carrier frequency in the spectrum of an AM signal.
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