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Unformatted text preview: lds oscillate together but in different planes. To visualize an electromagnetic wave, you must think in 3D. Let’s put a light wave together one piece at a time. Above is a set of 3D coordinate axes. The z axis is vertical, the yaxis is horizontal, and the x axis is coming out toward you. Electromagnetic Waves (cont.)
The red wave represents an oscillating electric field in the yz plane. (Every point on this curve has an x coordinate of zero.) It is a snapshot in time. At the crests and troughs, the electric field will exert the greatest force on a charge, but in opposite directions. Charges located at the y intercepts will experience no electric force (at this point in time). Electromagnetic Waves (cont.)
In the top right picture, the blue wave represents an oscillating magnetic field in the xy plane. (Every point on this curve has an z coordinate of zero.) It is a snapshot in time. Like the electric field, the magnetic field is strongest at the crests and troughs. Bottom right is shown an electric and a magnetic field oscillating together. This is an electro
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- Fall '11