Difference Between Latch and Flip Flop

Difference Between Latch and Flip Flop

6 mins read704 Views Comment
Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Mar 4, 2024 13:59 IST

Latches and Flip Flops are circuit elements used in digital electronics to store and control binary information (i.e., the information represented as 0s and 1s). However, they work differently. So, are you aware of the difference between Latch and Flip Flop? If not, then don’t worry. You are at the right place. In this article, we will discuss the difference between latch and flip flop in detail.

2023_02_MicrosoftTeams-image-268.jpg

The main difference between latch and flip flop is that latch is a level-triggered type of memory circuit. This means that the latch checks the input, responds to the input changes immediately, and changes the output accordingly. In contrast, the flip flop is an edge-triggered type of memory circuit. This means the flip-flop checks the input but changes the output only when the clock signal changes.

You can also explore: Difference Between Input and Output Devices

Before diving deeper into the difference between latch and flip flop, let’s quickly go over the topics listed under the table of contents (TOC) we will cover in this article. Here’s the table of contents:

Table of Contents (TOC)

Difference Between Latch and Flip Flop 

For a better understanding, let’s explore the difference between latch and flip flop in a tabular format. Here’s the table:

Benchmark Latch Flip Flop
Type of memory circuit Level-triggered Edge-triggered
It changes the output when the Input changes. Input and the clock signal changes.
Operating speed Fast in comparison to flip-flop. Slow in comparison to a latch.
Works using Binary inputs. Binary input and the clock signal.
Analyzing the circuit is Quite complex in comparison to flip-flops. Quite easy in comparison to a latch.
Operation type It performs asynchronous operations. It performs synchronous operations.
Area It requires less area in comparison to flip-flops. It requires more area in comparison to a latch.
Types J-K, S-R, D, and T. Set-Reset, Data or Delay, JK, and Toggle. 
Robustness Less robust in comparison to flip flop. More robust in comparison to a latch.
Is it protected against any faults? No. Yes.
It is designed using Logic gates. Latches along with a clock.
It is sensitive to the The applied input signal, but only when enabled. Applied input and the clock signal.
Power requirement It requires less power in comparison to flip-flops. It requires more power in comparison to a latch.
Is it capable of working as a register? No. Yes.
Does it always have a clock signal? No. Latches don’t have clock signals. Yes.
 

What is a Latch? 

Latch Definition: A latch is a type of level-triggered memory circuit, i.e., it checks the input and, responds to the input changes immediately and changes the output accordingly.

Latch has two stable states, often called “set” and “reset,” and two outputs. The state of the latch can be changed by applying a certain combination of signals to its inputs. Once the state has been set, it will remain there until a different combination of signals is applied to the inputs.

Latches are used in various digital circuits and systems, such as memory devices, computer systems, etc. In layman’s terms, a latch is a temporary storage device that can hold one bit of data (binary state (0 or 1)) and retain it until a new input signal changes its state.

You can also explore: CPU vs GPU? What’s the Difference?

Difference Between Combinational and Sequential Circuits
Difference Between Combinational and Sequential Circuits
The major difference between combinational and sequential circuits is that combinational circuits are designed using logic gates to process inputs and generate outputs based solely on the present input values....read more
Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Semiconductors
Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Semiconductors
The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors is that intrinsic semiconductors are pure semiconducting materials without any intentional doping, while extrinsic semiconductors are intentionally doped to modify their electrical...read more
Difference between Digital and Analog Computer
Difference between Digital and Analog Computer
The key difference between analog and digital computers is that analog computers process continuous data using physical quantities like voltage. While digital computers use discrete data represented as numbers, making...read more

What is a Flip Flop? 

Flip-Flop Definition: A flip-flop is an edge-triggered type of memory circuit, i.e., it checks the input but changes the output only when the clock signal changes.

Unlike a latch, a flip-flop has a clock input that determines when the state of the flip-flop can be changed. The output of the flip flop will change based on its current state and the inputs, but only when the clock signal changes.

The Flip flop memory circuit plays an important role in digital systems, such as digital clocks, memory devices, and computer systems, where they synchronize and control binary data flow. In layman’s terms, a flip flop is a circuit element used in digital electronics to store and control binary information.

You can also explore: What Is A Motherboard?

Key Differences Between Latch and Flip Flop 

Here are the key differences between latch and flip flop:

  • Latches require less area and are fast in comparison to flip-flops.
  • Latches cannot work as a register, whereas flip flops can.
  • You can design a flip-flop using latches along with a clock. Whereas you can design a latch using logic gates.
  • Latches work using binary inputs. On the other hand, flip-flop works using binary input and the clock signal.
  • The latch is a level-triggered memory circuit, but a flip flop is an edge-triggered memory circuit.
  • A latch changes the output when the input changes. In contrast, a flip-flop changes the output when the input and the clock signal change.
  • The latch is sensitive to the applied input signal, but only when enabled. In contrast, the flip flop is sensitive to applied input and the clock signal.
  • Latches are typically used for temporary data storage, whereas flip-flops are used for permanent data storage until they are either reset or overwritten.
  • Latches have a transparent period when the enable signal is active, during which the output directly follows the input. Whereas flip-flops do not have such a period; their output only changes on the triggering edge of the clock signal.
  • In terms of power consumption, latches generally consume less power due to their simpler structure and lack of a clocking mechanism. In contrast, flip-flops consume more power because they are clocked devices.
  • Latches can inadvertently change state if the enable signal is asserted at an unintended time, leading to potential glitches. In contrast, flip-flops, are immune to such glitches due to their edge-triggered nature.
  • The setup and hold times for latches are generally less strict compared to flip-flops, which require well-defined setup and hold times relative to the clock edge to ensure proper operation.

You can also explore: What Is A Network Switch And Its Types

Conclusion

Latches and flip-flops are both sequential logic devices used in digital circuits. Latches are level-sensitive and can be transparent or opaque, while flip-flops are edge-triggered and have distinct clocked behaviour. Flip-flops offer better stability and synchronization, making them suitable for applications where precise timing and sequential behaviour are crucial. Conversely, latches are simpler and can be used in certain scenarios where timing is less critical. Choosing between them depends on the specific requirements of the circuit and the desired behaviour.

Happy Learning!!

Recommended Articles:

FAQs

What is the main difference between latches and flip-flops?

The main difference lies in their behavior and triggering mechanism. Latches are level-sensitive and continuously reflect the input signal, while flip-flops are edge-triggered and store the input value only during the clock transition.

Which one is more stable, latches or flip-flops?

Flip-flops are more stable as they latch the input value only during the clock edge, ensuring synchronization. Latches, being level-sensitive, can be more susceptible to glitches and metastability issues.

Are latches or flip-flops better for sequential circuits?

Flip-flops are generally preferred for sequential circuits because of their synchronized behavior and better noise immunity. They ensure precise timing and reliable operation in applications where sequential logic is critical.

Can latches be used in place of flip-flops?

In some cases, latches can be used as a substitute for flip-flops, but it depends on the specific requirements of the circuit. Flip-flops are more commonly used due to their superior stability and synchronization properties.

About the Author
author-image
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio