Hertz

Hertz

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The hertz is the SI
International System of Units
The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system and is generally a system of units of measurement devised around seven base units and the convenience of the number ten. The older metric system included several groups of units...

 unit of frequency
Frequency
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

 defined as the number of cycles per second
Cycle per second
The cycle per second was a once-common unit of frequency.With the organization of the International System of Units in 1960, the cycle per second was officially replaced by the hertz, or reciprocal second—i.e. the cycle in 'cycle per second' was dropped...

 of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave
Sine wave
The sine wave or sinusoid is a mathematical function that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation. It occurs often in pure mathematics, as well as physics, signal processing, electrical engineering and many other fields...

, particularly those used in radio and audio applications.

Definition


The hertz is equivalent to cycles per second
Cycle per second
The cycle per second was a once-common unit of frequency.With the organization of the International System of Units in 1960, the cycle per second was officially replaced by the hertz, or reciprocal second—i.e. the cycle in 'cycle per second' was dropped...

. In defining the second
Second
The second is a unit of measurement of time, and is the International System of Units base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock....

 the CIPM declared that "the standard to be employed is the transition between the hyperfine levels F = 4, M =  0 and F = 3, M = 0 of the ground state 2S1/2 of the caesium
Caesium
Caesium or cesium is the chemical element with the symbol Cs and atomic number 55. It is a soft, silvery-gold alkali metal with a melting point of 28 °C , which makes it one of only five elemental metals that are liquid at room temperature...

 133 atom, unperturbed by external fields, and that the frequency of this transition is assigned the value 9 192 631 770 hertz" thereby effectively defining the hertz and the second simultaneously.

In English, hertz is used as a plural. As an SI unit, Hz can be prefixed
SI prefix
The International System of Units specifies a set of unit prefixes known as SI prefixes or metric prefixes. An SI prefix is a name that precedes a basic unit of measure to indicate a decadic multiple or fraction of the unit. Each prefix has a unique symbol that is prepended to the unit symbol...

; commonly used multiples are kHz (kilohertz, 103 Hz), MHz (megahertz, 106 Hz), GHz (gigahertz, 109 Hz) and THz (terahertz, 1012 Hz). One hertz simply means "one cycle per second
Second
The second is a unit of measurement of time, and is the International System of Units base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock....

" (typically that which is being counted is a complete cycle); 100 Hz means "one hundred cycles per second", and so on. The unit may be applied to any periodic event—for example, a clock might be said to tick at 1 Hz, or a human heart might be said to beat
Heart rate
Heart rate is the number of heartbeats per unit of time, typically expressed as beats per minute . Heart rate can vary as the body's need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide changes, such as during exercise or sleep....

 at 1.2 Hz. The "frequency" (activity) of aperiodic or stochastic
Stochastic
Stochastic refers to systems whose behaviour is intrinsically non-deterministic. A stochastic process is one whose behavior is non-deterministic, in that a system's subsequent state is determined both by the process's predictable actions and by a random element. However, according to M. Kac and E...

 events, such as radioactive decay
Radioactive decay
Radioactive decay is the process by which an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting ionizing particles . The emission is spontaneous, in that the atom decays without any physical interaction with another particle from outside the atom...

, is expressed in becquerel
Becquerel
The becquerel is the SI-derived unit of radioactivity. One Bq is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second. The Bq unit is therefore equivalent to an inverse second, s−1...

s.

Frequencies not expressed in hertz


Even higher frequencies are believed to occur naturally, in the frequencies of the quantum-mechanical wave functions of high-energy (or, equivalently, massive) particles, although these are not directly observable, and must be inferred from their interactions with other phenomena. For practical reasons, these are typically not expressed in hertz, but in terms of the equivalent quantum energy, which is proportional to the frequency by the factor of Planck's constant
Planck constant
The Planck constant , also called Planck's constant, is a physical constant reflecting the sizes of energy quanta in quantum mechanics. It is named after Max Planck, one of the founders of quantum theory, who discovered it in 1899...

.

See also


  • Alternating current
    Alternating current
    In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

  • Electronic tuner
    Electronic tuner
    The term electronic tuner can refer to a number of different things, depending which discipline you wish to study.In the Discipline of radio frequency electronics an electronic tuner is a device which tunes across a part of the radio frequency spectrum by the application of a voltage or appropriate...

  • Frequency changer
    Frequency changer
    A frequency changer or frequency converter is an electronic device that converts alternating current of one frequency to alternating current of another frequency. The device may also change the voltage, but if it does, that is incidental to its principal purpose.Traditionally, these devices were...

  • Normalized frequency
    Normalized frequency (digital signal processing)
    In digital signal processing, the normalized frequency of a periodic signal is its frequency expressed in units of cycles per sample, rather than in the usual SI units of hertz...

  • Orders of magnitude (frequency)
    Orders of magnitude (frequency)
    To help compare different orders of magnitude, the following list describes various frequencies, which is measured in Hertz.*262 Hz - The Frequency of Heat that Causes Uranium to Fission*1.85 Hz - Planck frequency, the inverse of the Planck time...

  • Radian per second
    Radian per second
    The radian per second is the SI unit of angular velocity, commonly denoted by the Greek letter ω...

  • Signal bandwidth


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