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In physics and mathematics, the phase of a periodic function $F$ of some real variable $t$ (such as time) is an angle representing the number of periods spanned by that variable. It is denoted $\phi (t)$ and expressed in such a scale that it varies by one full turn as the variable $t$ goes through each period (and $F(t)$ goes through each complete cycle). It may be measured in any angular unit such as degrees or radians, thus increasing by 360° or $2\pi$ as the variable $t$ completes a full period.

This convention is especially appropriate for a sinusoidal function, since its value at any argument $t$ then can be expressed as the sine of the phase $\phi (t)$ , multiplied by some factor (the amplitude of the sinusoid). (The cosine may be used instead of sine, depending on where one considers each period to start.)

Usually, whole turns are ignored when expressing the phase; so that $\phi (t)$ is also a periodic function, with the same period as $F$ , that repeatedly scans the same range of angles as $t$ goes through each period. Then, $F$ is said to be "at the same phase" at two argument values $t_{1}$ and $t_{2}$ (that

This convention is especially appropriate for a sinusoidal function, since its value at any argument $t$ then can be expressed as the sine of the phase $\phi (t)$ , multiplied by some factor (the amplitude of the sinusoid). (The cosine may be used instead of sine, depending on where one considers each period to start.)

Usually, whole turns are ignored when expressing the phase; so that $\phi (t)$ is also a periodic function, with the same period as $F$ , that repeatedly scans the same range of angles as $t$ goes through each period. Then, $F$ is said to be "at the same phase" at two argument values $t_{1}$ and $t_{2}$ (that is, $\phi (t_{1})=\phi (t_{2})$ ) if the difference between them is a whole number of periods.

The numeric value of the phase $\phi (t)$ depends on the arbitrary choice of the start of each period, and on the interval of angles that each period is to be mapped to.

The term "phase" is also used when comparing a periodic function $F$ with a shifted version $G$ of it. If the shift in $t$ is expressed as a fraction of the period, and then scaled to an angle $\varphi$ spanning a whole turn, one gets the phase shift, phase offset, or phase difference of $G$ relative to $F$ . If $F$ is a "canonical" function for a class of signals, like $\sin(t)$ is for all sinusoidal signals, then $\varphi$ is called the initial phase of $G$ .

Let $F$ be a periodic signal (that is, a function of one real variable), and $T$ be its period (that is, the smallest positive real number such that $F(t+T)=F(t)$ for all $t$ ). Then the phase of $F$ at any argument $t$ is

$\phi (t)=2\pi \left[\!\!\left[{\frac {t-t_{0}}{T}}\right]\!\!\right]$ Here ${\displa$

Here $[\![\,\cdot \,]\!]\!\,$ denotes the fractional part of a real number, discarding its integer part; that is, $[\![x]\!]=x-\left\lfloor x\right\rfloor \!\,$ ; and $t_{0}$ is an arbitrary "origin" value of the argument, that one considers to be the beginning of a cycle.

This concept can be visualized by imagining a clock with a hand that turns at constant speed, making a full turn every $T$ seconds, and is pointing straight up at time $t_{0}$ . The phase

The phase concept is most useful when the origin $t_{0}$ is chosen based on features of $F$ . For example, for a sinusoid, a convenient choice is any $t$ where the function's value changes from zero to positive.

The formula above gives the phase as an angle in radians between 0 and $2\pi$ . To get the phase as an angle between $-\pi$ and $+\pi$ , one uses instead

The phase expressed in degrees (from 0° to 360°, or from −180° to +180°) is defined the same way, except with "360°" in place of "2π".

### Consequences

With any of the above definitions, the phase $\phi (t)$ of a periodic signal is periodic too, with the same period $T$ :

$\phi (t+T)=\phi (t)\quad \quad {}$[Image_Link]https

With any of the above definitions, the phase

$\phi (t)$ of a periodic signal is periodic too, with the same period $T$ :

Phase shifter using IQ modulator

### General definition

The difference $\varphi (t)=\phi _{G}(t)-\phi _{F}(t)$ between the phases of two periodic signals $F$ and $G$ is called the phase difference of $G$ relative to $F$ . At values of $t$ when the difference is zero, the two signals are said to be in phase, otherwise they are out of phase with each other.
For arguments $t$ when the phase difference is zero, the two signals will have the same sign and will be reinforcing each other. One says that constructive interference is occurring. At arguments $t$ when the phases are different, the value of the sum depends on the waveform.