Glossary of EE Terms


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  • I

    This is a measure of the maximum deviation from a straight line passing through the endpoints of the RDAC transfer function. It is expressed in LSBs. In other words, for a nonlinear device, the differences between heights of adjacent values are not equal.

  • I & Q

    In-phase and Quadrature - A modulation technique whereby signal information is derived from a carrier frequency at its 0° and 90° phase angles.

  • I/O Modules

    I/O modules are the primary constituents of controller modules. They are available as analog input and output modules, and digital input and output modules. The analog modules measure (input) or transmit (output) either voltage and/or current. Analog input modules can also measure RTD and thermocouple sensors. Along with I/O modules, there are also CPU modules and communications modules in the controller system.

  • I/Q modulation/demodulation

    This modulation technique creates I(in phase) and Q(quadrature components by mixing the input RF signal with a 0° and 90° phase offset version of the carrier or pre-determined mixing frequency. This enables the waveform to be represented in terms of both phase and amplitude. The transmitted signal is then captured through down-conversion and to re-create the original signal.

  • I2C

    Inter-Integrated Circuit; generically referred to as "two-wire interface" is a multi-master serial single-ended computer bus that is used to attach low-speed peripherals to a motherboard, embedded system, or cellphone or other electronics.

  • Identification, friend or foe (IFF)

    In telecommunications, identification, friend or foe (IFF) is an identification system designed for command and control. It enables military and national (civilian-located ATC) interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator.

  • Identification, friend or foe (IFF)

    In telecommunications, identification, friend or foe (IFF) is an identification system designed for command and control. It enables military and national (civilian-located ATC) interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator.

  • IEC 61508

    IEC61508 is an international functional safety standard targeted at all industries with its origins in process control. The assessment and reduction of risk in industrial systems is central to the standard. Risk is defined as a function of the likelihood of a hazardous event and the severity of the consequences of such an event. The risk can be reduced to a tolerable level by doing a safety analysis and applying safety functions.

  • Image Stabilization

    Image stabilization is a technique used to decrease image blurriness and is enabled by using gyroscope technology. It is often used when compensating for camera vibration (shaking).

  • Impulse Response

    Response of the device to a digital impulse applied at the input. Typically used to characterize interpolation filters.

  • Industrial Ethernet

    Industrial Ethernet is based on the standard Ethernet computer network technology but tuned for use in an industrial environment for automation and process control. Compared to incumbent Fieldbus solutions, Industrial Ethernet reduces the cost and improves the performance of communications between industrial controllers. It is faster, easier to configure and enables a more expandable network. There are three major Industrial Ethernet protocols in use today; Profinet, Ethernet I/P, and EtherCAT.

  • Inertia

    Inertia is the resistance of an object to change its state of motion.

  • Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)

    An IMU senses motion — including the type, rate, and direction of that motion — using a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes.

  • Inertial navigation system (INS)

    An inertial navigation system (INS) is a navigation aid that uses a computer, motion sensors (accelerometers) and rotation sensors (gyroscopes) to continuously calculate via dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity (direction and speed of movement) of a moving object without the need for external references. It is used on vehicles such as ships, aircraft, submarines, guided missiles, and spacecraft. INS is often used so that systems in flight can operate autonomously to complete a mission without being confused by jamming or disabling of external navigation aids

  • Inertial Sensor

    An inertial sensor is an instrument that uses the principles of inertia to perform measurement. An accelerometer, for example, compares the motion of a mass fixed to the accelerating object, and a suspended mass. The fixed mass moves with an accelerating object, but the response of the suspended mass lags due to its inertia or resistance to change. The difference in motion can be related to the object’s acceleration.

  • Input Bias Current (IB)

    The current flowing into or out of the inverting and non-inverting input terminals.

  • Input Bias Current Drift

    The proportional change in input bias current vs. temperature. Given as a value in the data sheet over the specified temperature range.

  • Input Offset Current (IOS)

    The difference between the two input bias currents.

  • Input Offset Voltage Drift (TCV05)

    The ratio of change in input offset voltage to a change in temperature.

  • Input Voltage Noise (en)

    The input voltage noise is the internal rms voltage noise of an amplifier, with no input signal, that appears at the output divided by the gain of the amplifier. It is dependent on the bandwidth so it is specified in volts per square root Hertz (nV/√Hz).

  • Input/Output Signal Bandwidth (ADC & DAC)

    More commonly associated with ADCs, bandwidth is the input frequency range over which an ADC can be operated before its transfer function causes the digitized output to decrease in amplitude by 3 dB when the input remains constant. Bandwidth is usually specified under two conditions: with a full scale input signal and with a small scale input signal.

  • Integral Non-Linearity (INL)

    Integral nonlinearity (INL) is a measure of the maximum deviation in a converter’s transfer function, from a straight line passing through negative full-scale and positive full-scale. Measured in LSBs, INL is generally considered to be one of the important measure of a converter’s DC performance.

  • Intermodulation Distortion (IMD)

    When two or more signals of different frequencies are converted, IMD is a measure of the creation of unwanted new frequency components that are not found in the original signals.

  • Interpolation Filter (FIR, IIR)

    If the digital inputs to the DAC are sampled at a multiple rate of fDATA (interpolation rate), a digital filter can be constructed that has a sharp transition band near fDATA/2. Images that would typically appear around fDAC (output data rate) can be greatly suppressed.

  • Interpolation/Decimation

    Interpolation refers to the process of converting a sampled digital signal (such as a sampled audio signal) to an effective higher sampling rate using various digital filtering techniques to “fill-in” missing data. Decimation is a technique for reducing the effective sampling rate in a discrete-time signal by discarding every Nth sample.

  • Intrinsic Safety

    Intrinsic safety (IS) is a protection technique for safe operation applied to the design of electronic equipment in explosive atmospheres and under irregular operating conditions. The concept was developed for safe operation of process control field instruments in hazardous areas, particularly oil and gas platforms and chemical plants.

  • Isolator

    An isolator is a device that separates two electrical systems for safety or circuit functional requirements.

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