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Difference Between Frequency and Period

Frequency vs Period

Frequency and period are two fundamental parameters of waves. If one of them is given, the other can be derived. A wave is a propagation of energy through space where each point in the path is oscillated. In the case of mechanical waves, the matter oscillate, electric field and magnetic field are oscillated for electromagnetic waves. The magnitude of oscillating property (displacement of the water level for water surface waves, magnitude of electric field for electromagnetic wave etc.) of a point is called the amplitude. When the amplitude is plotted against time, you will get a sinusoidal curve.


Period is the time taken for the same sequence of events to occur again. The time difference between the occurrences of two peaks is the period of the wave. The time difference between two consecutive black dots marked also gives the period of the wave. Generally, symbol ‘T’ is used to denote period in physics. Unit of measuring period is seconds (s).


Frequency is the number of periods within a unit time (or a second). Simply, it is how many same occurrences (roughly) you find within a period of 1 second in above image. Therefore, frequency is inversely proportional to period. Unit of measuring frequency is Hertz (Hz), and ‘F’ is the most common symbol used in physics to denote frequency.

Relation of frequency and period is given by F = 1/T (or T = 1/F). For example, period of 88MHz FM wave is T = 1/F =1/88×106 = 11.3x 10-9 s = 11.3ns (nanoseconds).

What is the difference between Frequency and Period?

1. Period is the time taken for two similar events to occur and frequency is the number of similar occurrences within a second

2. Frequency and period is related to each other by the equation F = 1/T

3. There for period decreases when the frequency increases


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