The combining of two or more signals (superposition of waves) results in an interaction called interference. This may be constructive or destructive. Another use of the term is to refer to undesired signals, such as noise on a radio transmission.

Atmospheric Interference

The radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation originating, principally, in the irregular surges of charge in thunderstorm lightning discharges.

Constructive Interference

When the peaks and troughs of two interfering waves match, the amplitudes add to give the resultant wave a higher amplitude.

Cosmic Noise

Interference caused by cosmic radio waves.

Destructive Interference

When the peaks of one wave match the troughs of another, the waves interfere destructively. The amplitudes of the interfering waves cancel to give the resultant wave a lower amplitude.


Interference from a nearby circuit or electrical system.


Any radio interference detectable as noise in the audio stage of a receiver.

Wave Interference

The resultant when waves of the same or nearly the same frequency are superposed.

See also: Atmospheric Interference, Cosmic Noise, Mutual Interference, Optical Interference, Signal to Noise Ratio, Wave Interference.

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Subjects: Electronics Physics