# Plane wave

**plane wavesplane-waveplaneplane electromagnetic wavecomplex sinusoidsplane wave sourceplane-wavesplanewavethese two images**

In physics, a plane wave is a special case of wave or field: a physical quantity whose value, at any moment, is constant over any plane that is perpendicular to a fixed direction in space.wikipedia

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### Wave

**travelling wavewavestraveling wave**

In physics, a plane wave is a special case of wave or field: a physical quantity whose value, at any moment, is constant over any plane that is perpendicular to a fixed direction in space.

A plane wave seems to travel in a definite direction, and has constant value over any plane perpendicular to that direction.

### Sinusoidal plane wave

**sinusoidal**

The term is also used, even more specifically, to mean a "monochromatic" or sinusoidal plane wave: a travelling plane wave whose profile G(u)is a sinusoidal function.

In physics, sinusoidal (or monochromatic) plane wave is a special case of plane wave: a field whose value varies as a sinusoidal function of time and of the distance from some fixed plane.

### Traveling plane wave

Often the term "plane wave" refers specifically to a traveling plane wave, whose evolution in time can be described as simple translation of the field at a constant wave speed c along the direction perpendicular to the wavefronts.

In mathematics and physics, a traveling plane wave is a special case of plane wave, namely a field whose evolution in time can be described as simple translation of its values at a constant wave speed c, along a fixed direction of propagation \vec n.

### Sine wave

**sinusoidalsinusoidsine**

The term is also used, even more specifically, to mean a "monochromatic" or sinusoidal plane wave: a travelling plane wave whose profile G(u)is a sinusoidal function.

In two or three spatial dimensions, the same equation describes a travelling plane wave if position x and wavenumber k are interpreted as vectors, and their product as a dot product.

### Wavefront

**wave frontwavefrontssurfaces of constant phase**

For each displacement d, the moving plane perpendicular to \vec n at distance d + c t from the origin is called a "wavefront".

The simplest form of a wavefront is the plane wave, where the rays are parallel to one another.

### Plane wave expansion

**convertsum of cylindrical waves**

In physics, the plane wave expansion expresses a plane wave as a linear combination of spherical waves,

### Wave equation

**spherical waveD'Alembert equationwave**

A solution of this equation can be quite complicated, but it can be analyzed as a linear combination of simple solutions that are sinusoidal plane waves with various directions of propagation and wavelengths but all with the same propagation speed c.

### Physics

**physicistphysicalphysicists**

In physics, a plane wave is a special case of wave or field: a physical quantity whose value, at any moment, is constant over any plane that is perpendicular to a fixed direction in space.

### Field (physics)

**fieldfieldsfield theory**

In physics, a plane wave is a special case of wave or field: a physical quantity whose value, at any moment, is constant over any plane that is perpendicular to a fixed direction in space.

### Unit vector

**unit vectorsnormalizedunit**

:where \vec n is a unit-length vector, and G(d,t) is a function that gives the field's value as from only two real parameters: the time t, and the displacement of the point \vec x along the direction \vec n. The latter is constant over each plane perpendicular to \vec n.

### Real number

**realrealsreal-valued**

:where \vec n is a unit-length vector, and G(d,t) is a function that gives the field's value as from only two real parameters: the time t, and the displacement of the point \vec x along the direction \vec n. The latter is constant over each plane perpendicular to \vec n.

### Longitudinal wave

**longitudinalcompressional wavecompression wave**

When the values of F are vectors, the wave is said to be a longitudinal wave if the vectors are always collinear with the vector \vec n, and a transverse wave if they are always orthogonal (perpendicular) to it.

### Transverse wave

**transversetransverse wavesshear waves**

When the values of F are vectors, the wave is said to be a longitudinal wave if the vectors are always collinear with the vector \vec n, and a transverse wave if they are always orthogonal (perpendicular) to it.

### Amplitude

**peak-to-peakintensityvolume**

:The parameter A, which may be a scalar or a vector, is called the amplitude of the wave; the scalar coefficient f is its "spatial frequency"; and the scalar \varphi is its "phase".

### Light

**visible lightvisiblelight source**

That is the case, for example, of the light waves from a distant star that arrive at a telescope.

### Standing wave

**standing wavesstationary wavestanding**

A standing wave is a field whose value can be expressed as the product of two functions, one depending only on position, the other only on time.

### Linear map

**linear operatorlinear transformationlinear**

Any local operator, linear or not, applied to a plane wave yields a plane wave.

### Divergence

**divergence operatorconverge or divergeConvergence**

The divergence of a vector-valued plane wave depends only on the projection of the vector G(d,t) in the direction \vec n.

### Parabolic loudspeaker

**Holophonesholophoneparabolic dishes**

A parabolic loudspeaker is a loudspeaker which seeks to focus its sound in coherent plane waves either by reflecting sound output from a speaker driver to a parabolic reflector aimed at the target audience, or by arraying drivers on a parabolic surface.

### Mirror

**mirrorslooking glassreflector**

### Zenneck wave

**Zenneck surface wave**

The Zenneck wave, Zenneck surface wave or Sommerfeld-Zenneck surface wave is a longitudinal, inhomogeneous or non-uniform electromagnetic plane wave incident at the complex Brewster's angle onto a planar or spherical boundary interface between two homogeneous media having different dielectric constants.

### Photon polarization

**polarization transversalitylight polarization**

Photon polarization is the quantum mechanical description of the classical polarized sinusoidal plane electromagnetic wave.

### Parabolic reflector

**parabolic mirrorparabolicparabolic dish**

The parabolic reflector transforms an incoming plane wave traveling along the axis into a spherical wave converging toward the focus.

### Dirac spinor

**spinorfour-spinorscomplex four-component spinor**

In quantum field theory, the Dirac spinor is the bispinor in the plane-wave solution