**Parametric Oscillators**

A parametric oscillator is a harmonic oscillator whose parameters oscillate in time. A familiar example of both parametric and driven oscillation is playing on a swing. Rocking back and forth pumps the swing as a driven harmonic oscillator, but once moving, the swing can also be parametrically driven by alternately standing and squatting at key points in the swing. The varying of the parameters drives the system. Examples of parameters that may be varied are its resonance frequency and damping .

Parametric oscillators are used in many applications. The classical varactor parametric oscillator oscillates when the diode's capacitance is varied periodically. The circuit that varies the diode's capacitance is called the "pump" or "driver". In microwave electronics, waveguide/YAG based parametric oscillators operate in the same fashion. The designer varies a parameter periodically to induce oscillations.

Parametric oscillators have been developed as low-noise amplifiers, especially in the radio and microwave frequency range. Thermal noise is minimal, since a reactance (not a resistance) is varied. Another common use is frequency conversion, e.g., conversion from audio to radio frequencies. For example, the Optical parametric oscillator converts an input laser wave into two output waves of lower frequency .

Parametric resonance occurs in a mechanical system when a system is parametrically excited and oscillates at one of its resonant frequencies. Parametric excitation differs from forcing, since the action appears as a time varying modification on a system parameter. This effect is different from regular resonance because it exhibits the instability phenomenon.

Read more about this topic: Harmonic Oscillator