What Does Wavelength Mean?

Wavelength refers to the length or distance between two identical points of neighboring cycles of a wave signal traveling in space or in any physical medium. The length is measured in distance specifications such as meters, centimeters or millimeters. The wavelength of a signal is inversely proportional to its frequency, that is, the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength.


Techopedia Explains Wavelength

Wavelength depends on the medium the wave is traveling. Wavelength is a concept most often used to describe sinusoidal or nearly sinusoidal waves because it does not get deformed during its propagation and, hence, the laws of a linear system can be applied on it wherever in space. Wavelength is a characteristic of a wave in space, which also depends on the frequency of the wave. The frequency for a sinusoidal wave remains constant, whereas the phase (and sometimes amplitude) of a wave does change. Concepts like superimposition do not change the wavelength and frequency of a sinusoidal wave, which depends only on its source of production.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.