Difference Between Wavelength and Frequency

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Wavelength and Frequency

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Any waveform is referred to by the words wavelength and frequency. Frequency, as opposed to wavelength, is fundamentally different in that it displays the total number of wave oscillations over a period of time. Unlike wavelength, which describes the separation between two particular wavefronts. A wave's precise points might be its crest, trough, or zero crossing.

All other technical principles now in use have their roots in physics. Because they are connected to so many different things, the noises we hear and the light we see and interact with are important. In a mechanical sense, sound waves use pressure and vibration to transport information from one medium to another. Their qualities and characteristics are different. The employment of ideas like wave number, wavelength, and frequency, along with notions like intensity, speed, and velocity, makes this conception viable. Although they are related, wavelength and frequency have an inverse relationship.

Calculations involving a wave cycle often need the use of frequency and wavelength. Additionally, frequency is defined as the quantity of oscillations in a wave per unit of time, measured in hertz (Hz). Additionally, the frequency and pitch tend to be inversely related.

The distance between two most nearby places that are in phase with one another is referred to as a wavelength. In addition, a wave has two neighbouring peaks or troughs that are separated by a single full wavelength. In terms of wavelength measurement, it can be done in metres, centimetres, or nanometers.

Wavelength vs Frequency

Wavelength is the length between two successive sound wave crests or troughs. Frequency is how many sound waves occur in a certain period of time. The relationship between the two is inversely proportional. So, when the frequency decreases, the wavelength increases, and vice versa.

The distance that separates sound waves is referred to as a "wavelength." The length of a wave is indicated and described by the word "Lamba." The metre, which is also the worldwide standard unit of measurement, is the unit of measurement used when discussing wavelength. The velocity or speed of light is divided by the frequency to determine the wavelength, or lambda. Visible light has a constant wavelength between 400 and 700 nanometers. Distance is the most important factor, and it may be calculated using wavelength.Frequency is the measurement of how often waves occur.

The symbol for frequency is the letter "f." When discussing frequency, the unit of measurement employed is the hertz, which is also the SI unit of frequency. To determine frequency in Hz, divide the distance travelled by a light particle by the wavelength of that particular sound wave. The frequency of audible sound waves ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Frequency is used to deal with the measurement of time.

Difference Between Wavelength and Frequency in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Wavelength Frequency
Definition The space between two waves—sound waves, crests, or valleys—that follow one another. The quantity of sound waves generated in a second.
Concept Concerned with The separation between sound waves. The separation between sound waves.
Denoted as Lambda/ λ f
SI Unit Metre Hertz
Range 400nm – 700nm 20Hz – 20 KHz
Calculated as Wavelength= Speed of light/Frequency Frequency= Speed of light/Wavelength
What is obtained? Distance Time

What is Frequency?

The number of oscillations of a wave per unit of time, measured in hertz, is the definition of frequency (Hz). The pitch and frequency are inversely correlated. Noises of frequency between 20 and 20000 Hz can be heard by humans. Ultrasound and infrasound are terms used to describe noises with frequencies above and below that of human hearing, respectively.To comprehend the link between wavelength and frequency, you must first grasp what those terms signify.

The wavelength is the separation of two sound waves, or crests or troughs, one after the other. The measurement of the distance between sound waves is known as a "wavelength." The term "lamba" both indicates and characterises a wave's length. The Meter, which is also the worldwide standard unit of measurement, is the unit of measurement used when discussing wavelength.

By dividing the velocity or speed of light by frequency, the wavelength, also known as lambda, is determined. The wavelength of visible light is fixed between 400 and 700 nanometers. Distance is the most important measurement, and wavelength controls it.

when a person perceives sounds with a range of pitches, tones, and intonations that might be high or low. The spacing or variation between the sound waves is to blame, though. A high-toned sound is produced when the waves are close together and have a shorter wavelength. In contrast, in the opposite situation, lower pitch noises are produced when the waves are further apart.

What is Wavelength?

Every point on a wave oscillates, or displays some form of regular change in a certain value. For instance, the rope molecules constantly move up and down as you generate a wave by wriggling up and down. When considering electromagnetic waves, the wave at a particular spot causes magnetic and electric fields to continuously change in value. If the wave is not a brief pulse, the electric and magnetic field strengths are constantly changing. For instance, two wave points that reach their maximum value simultaneously oscillate in synchrony.

The distance between the two closest locations that are in phase with one another is known as a wavelength. As a result, a single full wavelength separates two nearby peaks or troughs on a wave. The most common letter we use to denote a wave's wavelength is lambda ().

Frequency is the measure of how often a sound wave occurs in a certain period of time. The repetition of waves is a topic covered by the idea of frequency. The word "frequency" is frequently represented with the letter "f." Hertz, which is also the SI unit of frequency, is the unit of measurement when discussing frequency.

To calculate the frequency, divide the distance travelled by the light wave's velocity by its wavelength value to get the answer in hertz (Hz). The frequency range of audible sound waves is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. The main goal of frequency is time measurement.

The frequency can occasionally be heard. Other times, though, the frequency cannot be heard. Because of their extremely high frequency, ultrasonic sound waves are unable to produce audible sound. It is audible in auditory frequencies, though. Earthquakes and other types of natural disasters don't happen very often. Ultrasound waves, on the other hand, have very high frequencies.

Frequency and wavelength are frequently used in calculations involving a wave cycle. A further definition of frequency is the number of oscillations in a wave per unit of time, expressed in hertz (Hz). Additionally, there is a general inverse relationship between frequency and pitch.

A wavelength is the separation between two locations that are the closest to one another and in phase with one another. A wave also has two adjacent peaks or troughs that are spaced apart by one complete wavelength. Measurements of wavelength can be made in metres, centimetres, or nanometers.

Multi-Wavelength Multiplexing

The advent of wavelength division multiplexing in the 1990s dramatically improved the data-carrying capacity of fibre optic cable (WDM). AT&T's Bell Labs developed this method, which devised a mechanism to divide a light beam into various wavelengths that could pass through the fibre independently of one another.

WDM, dense WDM (DWDM), and other techniques allow many signals to be transmitted simultaneously over a single optical fibre. As a result, optical networks—also known as photonic networks—that already exist can be expanded in terms of capacity.

The 850 nm, 1,300 nm, and 1,550 nm wavelengths are the three most popular ones in fibre optics.

Relation Between Frequency and Wavelength

A higher frequency pulse may be treated on a rope more quickly than before. You observe that the wavelength shortens during this. Since there is a link between frequency and wavelength, let's explore what it is in more detail.

Period (T), another number that can be used to characterise a wave, is another. It is described as the length of time needed for oscillation to end. Because frequency, which may be represented as, controls how frequently a wave oscillates,

f = 1 / t

Since a wave only oscillates during every period, every point on the wave returns to its initial value. This happens because each oscillation session must traverse a wavelength in one period to complete.

The distance a wave covers in one unit of time is known as the wave speed (v). Considering that a wave traverses one wavelength in a single time


Given that T = 1/f, we can write the equation above as,

V = f λ

The link between frequency and wavelength is implied by the fact that the wave speed is equal to the product of its frequency and wavelength.

Wavelength and Frequency Differences

The total number of oscillations that take place in a given period of time is defined by frequency. whereas a wave's wavelength is its length.

While wavelength measures distance, frequency measures time.

The frequency measurement unit is the hertz. While the wavelength is measured in metres.

The proportion of speed to wavelength is known as frequency. Speed to frequency is a measure compared to wavelength.

An audible sound wave contains a frequency range of 20 to 20 kHz. But the wavelength of visible light spans from 400 to 700 nm.

Main Differences Between Wavelength and Frequency in Points

  • The distance between two successive crests, troughs, or sound waves is used to measure wavelength. Contrarily, frequency is defined as the quantity of sound waves that occur in a unit of time.
  • The idea of wavelength is used to quantify the separation between sound waves. Contrarily, the idea of frequency is concerned with the repetition of the waves.
  • The term "Lamba" is used to describe and indicate wavelength. Contrarily, Frequency is typically represented by the letter "f".
  • Meter is the measuring unit used while discussing wavelength. However, it also serves as the global unit of measurement. On the other hand, Hertz, which is also the SI unit of frequency, is the unit of measurement when discussing frequency.
  • Lambda, often known as the wavelength, is calculated as the velocity of light divided by the frequency. On the other hand, when calculating frequency, the result is given as the product of the distance travelled by light divided by the wavelength of that specific sound wave.
  • The wavelength of visible light has a constant value between 400 and 700 nanometers. The frequency of audible sound waves, in contrast, lies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz.
  • The most crucial measurement is distance, which is determined by wavelength. Frequency, on the other hand, is focused on time measurement.


We may thus infer from this explanation that wavelength and frequency are connected to one another by the following expression:

V = f λ

So, the two exhibit inverse proportionality with respect to one another. This means that if two waves are moving at the same speed, the wave with the higher frequency will have a longer wavelength and vice versa.

The foundation for all other modern technical notions is the idea of physics. The sounds we hear and the light we see and interact with are significant because many things are connected to them. When transmitted from one medium to another, sound waves, a form of mechanical wave, cause some pressure and vibration.

These waves can move through a gas, a solid, a liquid, or even a vacuum. They each have unique qualities and attributes. This idea functions as a result of the concepts of amplitude, direction, sound pressure, intensity, speed, and velocity as well as wave number, wavelength, and frequency taken collectively. Wavelength and frequency are connected, however their relationships are inversely correlated.


  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lpor.201500226
  • https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1130391/


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"Difference Between Wavelength and Frequency." Diffzy.com, 2023. Tue. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-wavelength-and-frequency-671>.

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