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Stability An inherent characteristic of an oscillator that determines how well it can produce the same frequency over a given time interval. Stability doesn't indicate whether the frequency is right or wrong, but only whether it stays the same. The stability of an oscillator doesn't necessarily change when the frequency offset changes. You can adjust an oscillator and move its frequency either further away from or closer to its nominal frequency without changing its stability at all. The graphic below illustrates this by displaying two oscillating signals that are of the same frequency between t1 and t2. However, it’s clear that signal 1 is unstable and is fluctuating in frequency between t2 and t3.

Image:Stable unstable frequency.gif


  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology see Stability [1]

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