Unit vector

In mathematics, a unit vector in a normed vector space is a vector (often a spatial vector) of length 1. A unit vector is often denoted by a lowercase letter with a circumflex, or "hat", as in (pronounced "v-hat").

The term direction vector, commonly denoted as d, is used to describe a unit vector being used to represent spatial direction and relative direction. 2D spatial directions are numerically equivalent to points on the unit circle and spatial directions in 3D are equivalent to a point on the unit sphere.

Examples of two 2D direction vectors
Examples of two 3D direction vectors

The normalized vector รป of a non-zero vector u is the unit vector in the direction of u, i.e.,

where |u| is the norm (or length) of u.[1][2] The term normalized vector is sometimes used as a synonym for unit vector.

Unit vectors are often chosen to form the basis of a vector space, and every vector in the space may be written as a linear combination of unit vectors.


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