Square Wave

Square Wave

 A graphic illustrating a typical square wave. The amplitude, peak-to-peak amplitude, period and r.m.s. voltage are shown on a voltage graph. A second graph shows the finite rise time of a square wave.

a periodic wave that varies abruptly in amplitude between two fixed values, spending equal times at each.

A square wave is a non-sinusoidal periodic waveform (which can be represented as an infinite summation of sinusoidal waves), in which the amplitude alternates at a steady frequency between fixed minimum and maximum values, with the same duration at minimum and maximum. The transition between minimum to maximum is instantaneous for an ideal square wave; this is not realizable in physical systems. Square waves are often encountered in electronics and signal processing. Its stochastic counterpart is a two-state trajectory. A similar but not necessarily symmetrical wave, with arbitrary durations at minimum and maximum, is called a pulse wave (of which the square wave is a special case).

It has been found that any repeating, non-sinusoidal waveform can be equated to a combination of DC voltage, sine waves, and/or cosine waves (sine waves with a 90 degree phase shift) at various amplitudes and frequencies. This is true no matter how strange or convoluted the waveform in question may be. So long as it repeats itself regularly over time, it is reducible to this series of sinusoidal waves. In particular, it has been found that square waves are mathematically equivalent to the sum of a sine wave at that same frequency, plus an infinite series of odd-multiple frequency sine waves at diminishing amplitude:



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