Half-power point

The half-power point or half-power bandwidth is the frequency at which the output power has dropped to half of its peak value; that is, at a level of approximately -3 dB.[1] The half-power point is a commonly-used definition for the cutoff frequency and can be used in a variety of contexts, including the characterization of filters, optical filters, electronic amplifiers[2] and antennas.

Amplifiers and filters

This occurs when the output voltage has dropped to 1/2 (~0.707) of the maximum output voltage[lower-alpha 1] and the power has dropped by half.[lower-alpha 2] A bandpass amplifier will have two half-power points, whilst a low pass amplifier or a high pass amplifier will have only one.

The bandwidth of an amplifier is usually defined as the difference between the lower and upper half-power points. This is therefore also known as the 3 dB bandwidth. In the case of a low pass amplifier, there is no lower half-power point so the bandwidth is measured relative to direct current, i.e. 0 rad/s.


In antennas, the expression half-power point does not relate to frequency: instead, it describes the extent in space of an antenna beam. The half-power point is the angle off boresight at which the antenna gain first falls to half power (approx. -3 dB) from the peak. The angle between the -3 dB points is known as the beamwidth.[3]

See also


  1. Exact:
  2. Exact:


  1. "Power bandwidth - MATLAB powerbw". uk.mathworks.com. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  2. Schlessinger, Monroe (1995). Infrared technology fundamentals (2nd ed., rev. and expanded. ed.). New York: M. Dekker. ISBN 0824792599.
  3. Antenna Introduction / Basics (PDF), retrieved 2017-08-08
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