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Linear vs Non-linear waves

  1. Feb 6, 2012 #1
    Could someone please tell me the fundamental differences between linear and non-linear waves?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2012 #2
    Usually, linear means if f(x, t) and g(x, t) are both solutions, then so is Af + g. I think though sometimes in the context of wave mechanics and optics "linear" just means non-dispersive. Can I get some backup on that? Non-dispersive meaning the wave speed is not a function of wavelength and phase speed equals group speed. It is possible to have a linear equation that produces dispersive waves. Example: the free particle Schrödinger equation: [itex]-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \psi_{xx} = i\hbar \psi_t[/itex]
  4. Feb 7, 2012 #3
    Right, Thanks toombs
  5. Feb 7, 2012 #4


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