# Light1 - Light Terms and Formulae Terms Phase In a harmonic...

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Light Terms and Formulae Terms Phase - In a harmonic function, the phase the argument of the sine or cosine function. In general it is given by: ψ ( x , t ) = ( kx - σt + ε ) , where ε is called the initial phase. The phase determines whether the wave is at a peak or trough or somewhere in between at a particular point in space and time. Amplitude - The maximum disturbance, or the maximum displacement of the particles of the medium from their equilibrium position. This is given by the constant term preceding the sine or cosine in a harmonic wave. Wavelength - The wavelength of a wave is denoted λ and is the distance in space from one peak to any adjacent peak, one trough to any adjacent trough, or indeed from any one point to a similar point on an adjacent cycle. In other words, it is the number of units of length per complete wave cycle. Wavenumber - Denoted k , the wavenumber is the constant that appears in the expression for the phase (usually the coefficient of x ). It is defined as k = 2 Π / λ
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