Lissajous Art Circuits for O-Scopes

Regardless of whether you call it a Lissajous pattern or 'quadrature art,' there is a coolness about feeding signals into the X and Y axes of an oscilloscope and watching the patterns that emerge on the CRT (or possibly LCD these days) display. Using static waveshapes can create amazing-enough Etch-A-Sketch type drawings, but animating the on-screen patterns with time-varying signals into one or both axes really spiffs up the results. This short article by Russ Williams on the EDN website presents a few simple circuits for generating some of the quadrature art examples shown in the thumbnail below. A solderless breadboard, quad opamp IC, and a handful of resistors, capacitors, and inductors will get you started. For test equipment, a simple DC power supply, a waveform generator capable of outputting sine, square, and triangle signals, and, of course, an oscilloscope, are all that are needed.

Simple Circuits Enable Oscilloscope Art - RF CafeOf course actual hardware in the form of an arbitrary waveform generator and an oscilloscope is not required to enjoy the show - indeed software emulation will get the job done - any other method loses much of the awe and mesmerizing factor.

Posted  September 25, 2013