Part of the Electronics glossary:

A cosine wave is a signal waveform with a shape identical to that of a sine wave , except each point on the cosine wave occurs exactly 1/4 cycle earlier than the corresponding point on the sine wave. A cosine wave and its corresponding sine wave have the same frequency, but the cosine wave leads the sine wave by 90 degrees of phase .

cosinewave.gif (2634 bytes)

In most practical situations, a lone cosine wave is the same as a lone sine wave; phase generally has meaning only when two or more waves having identical frequencies are compared. The distinction between sine and cosine waves is important in Fourier analysis , where complex waveforms are defined in terms of constituent sine and cosine waves, and in Fourier synthesis , where complex waveforms are electronically built up from sine and cosine waves.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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