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Linearity
Linearity is the behavior of a circuit, particularly an amplifier, in which the output signal strength varies in direct proportion to the input signal strength. In a linear device, the output-to-input signal amplitude ratio is always the same, no matter what the strength of the input signal (as long it is not too strong). In an amplifier that exhibits linearity, the output-versus-input signal amplitude graph appears as a straight line. Two examples are shown below. The gain, or amplification factor, determines the slope of the line. The steeper the slope, the greater the gain. The amplifier depicted by the red line has more gain than the one depicted by the blue line. Both amplifiers are linear within the input-signal strength range shown, because both lines in the graph are straight.