Lopresti, Philip V. Formerly, Engineering Research Center, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Princeton, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The pictorial representation of the form or shape of a wave, obtained by plotting the amplitude of the wave with respect to time. There are an infinite number of possible waveforms (see illustration). One such waveform is the square wave, in which a quantity such as voltage alternately assumes two discrete values during repeating periods of time. Other waveforms of particular interest in electronics are the sine wave and rectified sine wave, the sawtooth wave and triangular wave, and the arbitrary wave—a recurrent waveform which takes on an arbitrary shape over one complete cycle; this shape is then repeated in successive cycles.
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