What Is Operational Amplifier?

The term operational amplifier, abbreviated op amp, was coined in the 1940s to refer to a special kind of amplifier that, by proper selection of external components, can be configured to perform a variety of mathematical operations. Early op amps were made from vacuum tubes consuming lots of space and energy.

Later op amps were made smaller by implementing them with discrete transistors. Today, op amps are monolithic integrated circuits, highly efficient and cost effective.