Properties of electromagnetic waves

Properties of electromagnetic waves - equivalently, on...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Properties of electromagnetic waves Something interesting about light, and electromagnetic waves in general, is that no medium is required for the wave to travel through. Other waves, such as sound waves, can not travel through a vacuum. An electromagnetic wave is perfectly happy to do that. An electromagnetic wave, although it carries no mass, does carry energy. It also has momentum, and can exert pressure (known as radiation pressure). The reason tails of comets point away from the Sun is the radiation pressure exerted on the tail by the light (and other forms of radiation) from the Sun. The energy carried by an electromagnetic wave is proportional to the frequency of the wave. The wavelength and frequency of the wave are connected via the speed of light: Electromagnetic waves are split into different categories based on their frequency (or,
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: equivalently, on their wavelength). In other words, we split up the electromagnetic spectrum based on frequency. Visible light, for example, ranges from violet to red. Violet light has a wavelength of 400 nm, and a frequency of 7.5 x 10 14 Hz. Red light has a wavelength of 700 nm, and a frequency of 4.3 x 10 14 Hz. Any electromagnetic wave with a frequency (or wavelength) between those extremes can be seen by humans. Visible light makes up a very small part of the full electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic waves that are of higher energy than visible light (higher frequency, shorter wavelength) include ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays. Lower energy waves (lower frequency, longer wavelength) include infrared light, microwaves, and radio and television waves....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online