I am trying to create a sine wave in python, but when I graph it, it looks like this:

enter image description here

here is the code I used to make the signal:

c_freq = 1700 * 1000
fs = c_freq * 2
secs = 3
x = fs*secs

t = np.linspace(0, secs, x)
carrier = np.sin(t * c_freq * 2 * np.pi)

Why is the amplitude changing throughout the signal and how can I fix this?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ We've had fun with this one. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2021 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, I'm not sure I get it. What should I do to fix this problem? $\endgroup$
    – user57935
    Jun 16, 2021 at 5:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ increase your sampling rate. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2021 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ Why is it a problem? The graph looks funny but everything you do with the data will stay work. Is this a cosmetic or technical issue ? $\endgroup$
    – Hilmar
    Jun 16, 2021 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


Why is the amplitude changing throughout the signal

Because you are sampling it at oh so slightly less than c_freq/2. Your linspace call generates x points that are evenly spaced between 0 and 3, with a spacing between them of 3 * c_freq * 2 / (3 * c_freq * 2 + 1). This means that the phase that gets calculated is $\begin{bmatrix}0, \pi-\epsilon, 2\pi - 2\epsilon,\cdots,(n-1)\pi-\pi+\epsilon, n \pi - \pi\end{bmatrix}$ -- and that gives the result you see, with alternating numbers on a half-rotation envelope.

(Why does it do that? Work it out -- it'll be good for you. Start by looking at how linspace actually behaves, i.e. linspace(0, 10, 10)).

and how can I fix this?

What's wrong with it? What do you want? If you want a pretty sine wave, you need to sample way more than twice the frequency, and everyone defines "pretty" differently, so there's no fixed number. I usually use 100 points per cycle of a sine wave -- but that would get pretty time intensive given that you want to plot three seconds of a 1.7MHz sine wave.

  • $\begingroup$ linspace(a,b,N) has a spacing of (b-a)/(N-1), there is one less segment than the number of nodes. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2022 at 12:07

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