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Uses of Oscilloscope

Last updated date: 24th Feb 2024
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Oscilloscope: An Overview

Oscilloscope is a device employed to draw the graph to detect the change of voltage over time of an electrical signal. The figure given below is an example of a graph displayed by an oscilloscope.

Oscilloscope Showing Graph

Oscilloscope Showing Graph

The key point to note in the graph is its scale. Here, the scale is as follows:

Y-axis - Voltage

X-axis - Time

It works on the same principle as that of a television screen, which consists of a cathode ray tube. Although their size and shape are different, the operating method is the same.

Application of Oscilloscope

  • They convert electrical signals into visible graphs which are displayed on the screen.

  • They are used by engineers to test and fix the problems in electronic devices.

  • They are employed in the medical field.

  • They are also used as primary instruments in physics labs that students use in their experiments.

Uses of Oscilloscopes in Electronics

An oscilloscope is employed to double-check their electronic devices to verify and fix the design of their circuit within a short period of time. The primary (basic) function of an oscilloscope is to measure the voltage by plotting (drawing) the graph between voltage and time.

An Oscilloscope Connected to a Circuit

An Oscilloscope Connected to a Circuit

Uses of Oscilloscopes in Engineering

Engineers use oscilloscopes for electronic measurements of devices. It displays the value of an electrical signal changing with time on the screen; therefore, it is also known as an electronic test instrument.

Uses of Oscilloscopes in Medicine

In order to monitor the signals of our body, doctors use oscilloscopes in three different forms, which are listed below:

  • Electrocardiogram [ECG] - to monitor the heart.

  • Electromyogram [EMG] - to monitor the muscle activity.

  • Electroencephalogram [EEG] - to monitor the activity of our brain.

The Graph is an ECG

The Graph is an ECG

Solved Questions

1. Which of the following instruments can measure the voltage change with time?

  1. Telescope

  2. Microscope

  3. Oscilloscope

Ans: Option (c) Oscilloscope

2. In which of the following places can you find the use of an oscilloscope?

  1. Parks

  2. Hospitals

  3. Hotels

Ans: Option (b) Hospitals

3. Which one of them will not be able to use the oscilloscope in their career?

  1. Dancer

  2. Doctor

  3. Engineer

Ans: Option (a) Dancer


A device which is used to measure the voltage of other electronic devices and to find out the flaws in their working is known as an oscilloscope. Since an oscilloscope is used to measure voltage change with time, it can also be regarded as a voltmeter (the device used to measure the voltage of a circuit). It works on the principle of cathode-ray-tube, the same technique which is used for the functioning of televisions. It plays a crucial role in the fields of engineering and medicine. Both of these fields work for the welfare of human beings. For example, in detecting the flaws in instruments we use and in hospitals to check the activity of our brain, muscles, and heart.

FAQs on Uses of Oscilloscope

1. What do oscilloscopes display?

They display the graph of electrical signals as a function of time.

2. What is the most common use of oscilloscopes?

They are most commonly used in the field of engineering to test the functioning of electronic devices and to fix their flaws (problems).

3. What are the two main types of oscilloscopes?

Oscilloscopes can broadly be classified into two main types: analog and digital types.