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propagation constant

1. n. [Geophysics]

A property of a sinusoidal plane wave equal to twice pi divided by the wavelength. Also known as the wavenumber, the propagation constant is fundamental to the mathematical representation of wavefields. It is the spatial equivalent of angular frequency and expresses the increase in the cycle of the wave (measured in radians) per unit of distance. In nondispersive media, the wavespeed is the ratio of the angular frequency to the propagation constant. The propagation vector has magnitude equal to the propagation constant and points in the direction the wave is traveling.

See: plane wavewavenumber