A stepper motor is a polyphase AC synchronous motor (see Theory below), and it is ideally driven by sinusoidal current. A full-step waveform is a gross approximation of a sinusoid, and is the reason why the motor exhibits so much vibration. Various drive techniques have been developed to better approximate a sinusoidal drive waveform: these are half stepping and microstepping.
The circular arrangement of electromagnets is divided into groups, each group called a phase, and there is an equal number of electromagnets per group. The number of groups is chosen by the designer of the stepper motor. The electromagnets of each group are interleaved with the electromagnets of other groups to form a uniform pattern of arrangement. For example, if the stepper motor has two groups identified as A or B, and ten electromagnets in total, then the grouping pattern would be ABABABABAB.
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