Resonance is a very general phenomenon that happens so often and in so many systems that we
sometimes ignore its existence. In the most general sense, resonance represents that the energy in a
system exchanges from one form into another at a particular rate.
Some examples of resonance:
•Bridges or buildings resonate when excited by external forces (cars or passengers passing by).
•Circuits resonate when electric energy stored in capacitors and magnetic energy stored in inductors
exchange back and forth.
•Lasers are “resonant cavities” where photons and electrons exchange energies at particular frequencies
•Any musical instrument resonates at frequencies defined by its string length or cavity size. (exchange
of the kinetic and potential energy like an oscillating spring)
•Pendulum resonates at a precise frequency, the exchange rate between potential energy and kinetic
•Examples go on and on.
Two quantities characterize the effect of resonance:
1. Resonance frequency.
2. Resonance bandwidth, or the ratio between the bandwidth and the resonance frequency as
defined as the Q-factor (quality factor).
A resonator has low quality if its energy is lost quickly during the energy exchange process. Losses
may be caused by “friction” in mechanical systems, and “resistor” in electronic systems.