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Concept# Negative frequency

Summary

In mathematics, signed frequency (negative and positive frequency) expands upon the concept of frequency, from just an absolute value representing how often some repeating event occurs, to also have a positive or negative sign representing one of two opposing orientations for occurrences of those events. The following examples help illustrate the concept:
For a rotating object, the absolute value of its frequency of rotation indicates how many rotations the object completes per unit of time, while the sign could indicate whether it is rotating clockwise or counterclockwise.
Mathematically speaking, the vector has a positive frequency of +1 radian per unit of time and rotates counterclockwise around the unit circle, while the vector has a negative frequency of -1 radian per unit of time, which rotates clockwise instead.
For a harmonic oscillator such as a pendulum, the absolute value of its frequency indicates how many times it swings back and forth per unit of time, while the sign could indicate in which of the two opposite directions it started moving.
For a periodic function represented in a Cartesian coordinate system, the absolute value of its frequency indicates how often in its domain it repeats its values, while changing the sign of its frequency could represent a reflection around its y-axis.
Let be a nonnegative angular frequency with units of radians per unit of time and let be a phase in radians. A function has slope When used as the argument of a sinusoid, can represent a negative frequency.
Because cosine is an even function, the negative frequency sinusoid is indistinguishable from the positive frequency sinusoid
Similarly, because sine is an odd function, the negative frequency sinusoid is indistinguishable from the positive frequency sinusoid or
Thus any sinusoid can be represented in terms of positive frequencies only.
The sign of the underlying phase slope is ambiguous.

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