Letters in the Greek Alphabet and their Uses

- summary of letters in the Greek alphabet and their uses in science, electronics, radio and technology.

The Greek alphabet is widely used to demote various constants and values within the scientific and technology arenas. These Greek letters are used for everything from the values of resistance and resistivity, through to impedance, permeance and ratios of circles and much more.

There are only 24 letters in the Greek alphabet in comparison to the 26 in the widely used Latin script used in much of the world today. The letters in the Greek alphabet also have different symbols used to denote them, although the Greek alphabet does have capitals and small versions of each letter.

A table of the different letters, symbols and what they are commonly used to designate is given below:


Greek letter Greek symbol Used to denote
  Capital Small  
Alpha Α α Angles, coefficients, attenuation constant, absorption factor, area
Beta Β β Angles, coefficients, phase constant
Gamma Γ γ Complex propagation constant (cap), specific gravity, angles, electrical conductivity, propagation constant
Delta Δ δ Incrment or decrement, determinant (cap), permittivity (cap), density, angles
Epsilon Ε ε Dielectric constant, permittivity, electric intensity
Zeta Ζ ζ Coordinates, coefficients
Eta Η η Intrinsic impedance, efficiency, surface charge density, hysteresis, coordinates
Theta Θ θ Angular phase displacement, angles, time constant, reluctance
Iota Ι ι Unit vector
Kappa Κ κ Susceptibility, coupling coefficient, thermal conductivity
Lambda Λ λ Permeance (cap), wavelength, attenuation constant
Mu Μ μ Permeability, amplification factor (in valves/ vacuum tubes), prefix for the micro multiplier.
Nu Ν ν Reluctivity, frequency
Xi Ξ ξ Coordinates
Omicron Ο ο  
Pi Π π Universally used for 3.1416 . . . .
Rho Ρ ρ Resistivity, volume charge density, coordinates
Sigma Σ σ Summation (cap), surface charge density, complex propagation constant, electrical conductivity, leakage coefficient, deviation
Tau Τ τ Time constant, volume resistivity, time-phase displacement, transmission factor, density
Upsilon Υ υ  
Phi Φ φ Scalar potential (cap), magnetic flux, angles
Chi Χ χ Electric susceptibility, angles
Psi Ψ ψ Dielectric flux, phase difference, coordinates, angles
Omega Ω ω Electrical resistance (cap), solid angle, angular velocity

Note: The small Greek letter in the alphabet is used except where the notation (cap) is used where the capital version of the Greek letter is used.


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