plane wave

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plane wave

[′plān ‚wāv]
Wave in which the wavefront is a plane surface; a wave whose equiphase surfaces form a family of parallel planes.

Plane Wave


a wave in which at every moment the displacements and velocities of the particles in a medium (for mechanical waves) or the strengths of the electric and magnetic fields (for electromagnetic waves) are the same at all points lying in any plane perpendicular to the direction of the wave’s propagation.

Strictly speaking, real plane waves do not exist, since a plane wave that propagates along the x-axis must span the entire region of space with y- and z-coordinates from — ∞ to + ∞. In many cases, however, a bounded (with respect to the y- and z-axes) portion of a wave can be found wherein the wave is nearly the same as a plane wave. This is primarily possible in free space at such great distances from the source that the source can be regarded as a point. Sometimes a wave that is propagating in a bounded region may coincide approximately with such a portion of a plane wave. An example is an elastic wave propagating in a rod.


Gorelik, G. S. Kolebaniia i volny, 2nd ed., ch. 5, subsec. 2, ch. 7, subsec. 3. Moscow, 1959.

plane wave

A shock wave whose front is normal to the direction of propagation. See normal shock wave.
References in periodicals archive ?
The monochromatic wave associated with the electron can be approximated to a plane wave spinor without loss of generality [10]:
Furthermore this proposal seeks to employ a recently developed combination of atom-centered basis functions and plane wave basis sets, maximizing the compactness in the wavefunction expansion.
This formulation simplifies the surface integrals of the method and allows a very easy generalization to other problems involving waveguides whose modes can be written as a plane wave expansion.
Above the plane wave cutoff, the nature of the acoustic source (monopole, dipole, plane wave, etc.
This makes the modules suitable for integration into an array of substantial size, for driving a large bounded-wave test fixture, with the equivalent of a plane wave.
Certainly, the plane wave solution may be obtained where the sign of the product of the coefficients at nonlinear and dispersive terms defines the existence of either bright or dark solitons.
The present paper investigates the equivalent transformation relations between the plane wave in 1D medium and the cylindrical wave in polar geometry.
1/2] x [omega]) the plane wave with [omega] as an incident direction at energy E > 0 and write [x.
The above researches all used single-frequency plane wave as an incident wave, only analysed the time and space characteristics of object scattering, and not study the frequency characteristics.
Free-space methods utilize reflection and transmission data from plane wave illumination to determine [[mu].
For this it is necessary to consider the issue of forming the beam of electromagnetic waves to a plane wave [1].
A simple plane wave has the same polarization everywhere," says Arno Rauschenbeutel, "but when the intensity of the light changes locally, the polarization changes too.