Phase-locked loop
A phase-locked loop or phase lock loop (PLL) is a control system
Control system
A control system is a device, or set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behavior of other devices or system.There are two common classes of control systems, with many variations and combinations: logic or sequential controls, and feedback or linear controls...

 that generates an output signal
Signal (electrical engineering)
In the fields of communications, signal processing, and in electrical engineering more generally, a signal is any time-varying or spatial-varying quantity....

 whose phase
Phase (waves)
Phase in waves is the fraction of a wave cycle which has elapsed relative to an arbitrary point.-Formula:The phase of an oscillation or wave refers to a sinusoidal function such as the following:...

 is related to the phase of an input "reference" signal. It is an electronic circuit
Electronic circuit
An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic components, such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, inductors and diodes, connected by conductive wires or traces through which electric current can flow...

 consisting of a variable frequency oscillator
Electronic oscillator
An electronic oscillator is an electronic circuit that produces a repetitive electronic signal, often a sine wave or a square wave. They are widely used in innumerable electronic devices...

 and a phase detector
Phase detector
A phase detector or phase comparator is a frequency mixer, analog multiplier or logic circuit that generates a voltage signal which represents the difference in phase between two signal inputs...

. This circuit compares the phase of the input signal with the phase of the signal derived from its output oscillator and adjusts the frequency of its oscillator to keep the phases matched.