Browse Definitions:
Definition

pulse

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

A pulse is a burst of current, voltage, or electromagnetic-field energy. In practical electronic and computer systems, a pulse may last from a fraction of a nanosecond up to several seconds or even minutes. In digital systems, pulses comprise brief bursts of DC (direct current) voltage, with each burst having an abrupt beginning (or rise) and an abrupt ending (or decay).

In digital circuits, pulses can make the voltage either more positive or more negative. Usually, the more positive voltage is called the high state and the more negative voltage is called the low state. The length of time between the rise and the decay of a single pulse is called the pulse duration or pulse width. Multiple pulses often occur in a sequence called a pulse train, where the length of time from the beginning of one pulse to the beginning of the next is called the pulse interval.

Digital pulses usually have well-defined shapes (voltage-vs.-time graphs, as might be observed on an oscilloscope ) such as rectangular or triangular. In nature, however, pulses can have irregular shapes and can occur at random intervals. A good example is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) generated by a lightning discharge in a thunderstorm, a solar flare, or a transient "voltage spike" that can occasionally occur on a utility power line.

This was last updated in May 2012

Continue Reading About pulse

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchSecurity

  • FIDO (Fast Identity Online)

    FIDO (Fast ID Online) is a set of technology-agnostic security specifications for strong authentication. FIDO is developed by the...

  • cryptanalysis

    Cryptanalysis is the study of ciphertext, ciphers and cryptosystems with the aim of understanding how they work and finding and ...

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless, but is, in fact, malicious.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD TRIM

    SSD TRIM is an Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) command that enables an operating system to inform a NAND flash solid-state ...

  • cloud storage service

    A cloud storage service is a business that maintains and manages its customers' data and makes that data accessible over a ...

  • cloud hosting

    Cloud hosting is the process of outsourcing an organization's computing and storage resources to a service provider that offers ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close