A synchronous electric motor is an AC motor in which the rotation rate of the shaft is synchronized with the frequency of the AC supply current; the rotation period is exactly equal to an integral number of AC cycles. Synchronous motors contain electromagnets on the stator of the motor that create a magnetic field which rotates in time with the oscillations of the line current. The rotor turns in step with this field, at the same rate.
Another way of saying this is that the motor does not rely on "slip" under usual operating conditions, and as a result produces torque at synchronous speed. Synchronous motors can be contrasted with induction motors, which must slip in order to produce torque. The speed of the synchronous motor is determined by the number of magnetic poles and the line frequency.
Synchronous motors are available in sub-fractional self-excited sizes to high-horsepower direct-current excited industrial sizes. In the fractional horsepower range, most synchronous motors are used where precise constant speed is required. In high-horsepower industrial sizes, the synchronous motor provides two important functions. First, it is a highly efficient means of converting AC energy to work. Second, it can operate at leading or unity power factor and thereby provide power-factor correction