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If parts of circuits must be galvanically separated, i.e. electrically isolated, optocouplers are used. Separation is necessary for instance where circuits have different voltage levels or dangerously high voltages. Optocouplers transmit optical signal between the separate parts. For this purpose an LED sends light mostly in the infrared range, whilst a photodiode or phototransistor receives the light and converts it back into an electrical signal. The signal can, depending on the respective optocoupler, be either analogue or digital. Optocouplers are for instance used in telecommunications for high-speed data transmission. In hospitals they increase the safety of the patient by preventing the voltages present in a computer connected to a display monitor flashing over to the patient.

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