amplitude modulation (AM)

amplitude modulation (AM): Modulation in which the amplitude of a carrier wave is varied in accordance with some characteristic of the modulating signal. (188) Note: Amplitude modulation implies the modulation of a coherent carrier wave by mixing it in a nonlinear device with the modulating signal to produce discrete upper and lower sidebands, which are the sum and difference frequencies of the carrier and signal. The envelope of the resultant modulated wave is an analog of the modulating signal. The instantaneous value of the resultant modulated wave is the vector sum of the corresponding instantaneous values of the carrier wave, upper sideband, and lower sideband. Recovery of the modulating signal may be by direct detection or by heterodyning.

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