Hertz

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The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon.[1] One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications.

Contents

Definition

The hertz is equivalent to cycles per second.[2] In defining the second 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 133 atom, unperturbed by external fields, and that the frequency of this transition is assigned the value 9 192 631 770 hertz"[3] thereby effectively defining the hertz and the second simultaneously.

In English, hertz is used as plural. As an SI unit, Hz can be prefixed; 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" (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 at 1.2 Hz. The "frequency" (activity) of aperiodic or stochastic events, such as radioactive decay, is expressed in becquerels.

Even though angular velocity, angular frequency and hertz all have the dimensions of 1/s, angular velocity and angular frequency are not expressed in hertz,[4] but rather in an appropriate angular unit such as radians per second. Thus a disc rotating at 60 revolutions per minute (rpm) is said to be rotating at either 2π rad/s or 1 Hz, where the former measures the angular velocity and latter reflects the number of complete revolutions per second. The conversion between a frequency f measured in hertz and an angular velocity ω measured in radians per second are:

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