Band-pass filter

A device that passes frequencies within a certain range and rejects (attenuates) frequencies outside that range.

A band-pass filter or bandpass filter (BPF) is a device that passes frequencies within a certain range and rejects (attenuates) frequencies outside that range.

An example of an analog electronic band-pass filter is an RLC circuit (a resistor–inductor-capacitor circuit). These filters can also be created by combining a low-pass filter with a high-pass filter.

Bandpass is an adjective that describes a type of filter or filtering process; it is to be distinguished from passband, which refers to the actual portion of the affected spectrum. Hence, one might say "A dual bandpass filter has two passbands." A bandpass signal is a signal containing a band of frequencies not adjacent to zero frequency, such as a signal that comes out of a bandpass filter.

An ideal bandpass filter would have a completely flat passband (e.g. with no gain/attenuation throughout) and would completely attenuate all frequencies outside the passband. Additionally, the transition out of the passband would have brick wall characteristics.

In practice, no bandpass filter is ideal. The filter does not attenuate all frequencies outside the desired frequency range completely; in particular, there is a region just outside the intended passband where frequencies are attenuated, but not rejected. This is known as the filter roll-off, and it is usually expressed in dB of attenuation per octave or decade of frequency. Generally, the design of a filter seeks to make the roll-off as narrow as possible, thus allowing the filter to perform as close as possible to its intended design. Often, this is achieved at the expense of pass-band or stop-band ripple.

The bandwidth of the filter is simply the difference between the upper and lower cutoff frequencies. The shape factor is the ratio of bandwidths measured using two different attenuation values to determine the cutoff frequency, e.g., a shape factor of 2:1 at 30/3 dB means the bandwidth measured between frequencies at 30 dB attenuation is twice that measured between frequencies at 3 dB attenuation.

Optical band-pass filters are common in photography and theatre lighting work. These filters take the form of a transparent colored film or sheet.

Key Terms

bandpass filter
db attenuation
shape factor

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Last modified on May 10 2020
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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