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An electrolytic capacitor is a capacitor that uses an electrolyte (an ionic conducting liquid) as one of its plates to achieve a larger capacitance per unit volume than other types, but with performance disadvantages. All capacitors conduct alternating current (AC) and block direct current (DC) and can be used, amongst other applications, to couple circuit blocks allowing AC signals to be transferred while blocking DC power, to store energy, and to filter signals according to their frequency. Most electrolytic capacitors are polarized; hence, they can only be operated with a lower voltage on the terminal marked "-" without damaging the capacitor. This generally limits electrolytic capacitors to supply-decoupling and bias-decoupling, since signal coupling usually involves both positive and negative voltages across the capacitor. The large capacitance of electrolytic capacitors makes them particularly suitable for passing or bypassing low-frequency signals and storing large amounts of energy. They are widely used in power supplies and for decoupling unwanted AC components from DC power connections.

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