Browse Definitions:

reciprocal meter

The reciprocal meter is the standard unit of wave number for electromagnetic field s (EM fields). In terms of International Units ( SI ), the reciprocal meter is equal to m -1 . The wave number is the number of complete wave cycles that exist in a linear span of 1 meter (m).

At the speed of light in free space, 2.99792 x 10 8 m/s, the frequency f in hertz ( Hz ) is related to the wave number y in reciprocal meters (m -1 ) according to the following formula:

y = f / (2.99792 x 10 8 )

To cite a few examples, an EM wave at 300 megahertz (MHz) in free space has a wave number of almost exactly 1 m -1 . If the frequency is doubled to 600 MHz, the wave number also doubles, to 2 m -1 . If the frequency becomes 1/10 as great, that is, it is decreased to 30 MHz, then the wave number is reduced to 0.1 m -1 . As a point of reference, it is easy to remember that the wave number of a 300-MHz signal in free space is very close to 1 m -1 .

In general, if the speed of propagation in meters per second for a specific medium is given by c , then:

y = f / c

where y is in reciprocal meters, and f is in hertz.

In radio-frequency ( RF ) transmission lines such as coaxial cable s and waveguide s, the speed of propagation is less than 2.99792 x 10 8 m/s. This increases the wave number, although it has no effect on the frequency.

Also see frequency , electromagnetic field , meter , wavelength , and International System of Units ( SI ).

This was last updated in September 2005

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.


Dateiendungen und Dateiformate

Gesponsert von:


  • 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. A...

  • 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 ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • 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 ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

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