As discussed earlier, a digital circuit represents and manipulates information encoded as electric signals that can assume one of two voltages – logic-high voltage (or Vdd) and logic-low voltage (or GND). A digital circuit requires a power supply that can produce these two voltages, and these same supply voltages are also used to encode information in the form of two-state, or binary signals. Thus,if a given circuit node is at Vdd, then that signal is said to carry a logic ‘1’; if the node is at GND, then the node carries a logic ‘0’. The components in digital circuits are simple on/off switches that can pass logic ‘1’ and logic ‘0’ signals from one circuit node to another. Most typically, these switches are arranged to combine input signals to produce an output signal according to basic logic relationships. For example, one well-known logic circuit is an AND gate that combines two input signals to produce an output that is the logic AND of the inputs (i.e., if both input1 and input2 are a ‘1’, then the output is a ‘1’).
A capacitor is a two-terminal device that can store electric energy in the form of charged particles. You can think of a capacitor as a reservoir of charge that takes time to fill or empty. The voltage across a capacitor is proportional to the amount of charge it is storing – the more charge added to a capacitor of a given size, the larger the voltage across the capacitor. It is not possible to instantaneously move charge to or from a capacitor, so it is not possible to instantaneously change the voltage across a capacitor. It is this property that makes capacitors useful on Digilent boards and in many other applications.
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