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Pulse vs wave

  1. Jan 1, 2016 #1
    In images I always seen pulses as a part of a wave corresponding to an half of a piece of wave, but it is called still a pulse when we have a part with a complete wavelength? I mean this (in the photo)

    And what the difference between waves and pulses?

    What I think is that is still a pulse because a wave is a non stoping oscillation, not just one

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2016 #2


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    A pulse is a form of wave. In particular, it's called pulse, usually because it has finite extent in space and time - it's oscillating and propagating, but confined within certain spatial extent at any given time. So, in this regard, both situations you drew there describe two different pulses. You can build a pulsed wave by superposing many sinusoidal waves of different frequencies. For example, try plotting ##\sum_{k=1}^10 \sin k\omega x##, you should see that this function takes the form a repeated pulses which also oscillates along.
  4. Jan 1, 2016 #3


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    I would call the first one a doublet and the second one a pulse. The difference from a wave is the abrupt start and stop that implies a very complicated frequency content. Usually the doublet and the pulse are in the form of steps, but I would still guess that the frequency content of your examples are closer to the doublet / pulse than to a continuous wave.
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