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feedback circuit[′fēd‚bak ‚sər·kət]
A circuit that returns a portion of the output signal of an electronic circuit or control system to the input of the circuit or system. When the signal returned (the feedback signal) is at the same phase as the input signal, the feedback is called positive or regenerative. When the feedback signal is of opposite phase to that of the input signal, the feedback is negative or degenerative.
The use of negative feedback in electronic circuits and automatic control systems produces changes in the characteristics of the system which improve the performance of the system. In electronic circuits, feedback is employed either to alter the shape of the frequency-response characteristics of an amplifier circuit and thereby produce more uniform amplification over a range of frequencies, or to produce conditions for oscillation in an oscillator circuit. It is also used because it stabilizes the gain of the system against changes in temperature, component replacement, and so on. Negative feedback also reduces nonlinear distortion. In automatic control systems, feedback is used to compare the actual output of a system with a desired output, the difference being used as the input signal to a controller. See Amplifier, Negative-resistance circuits, Servomechanism