PHY C14: Electromagnetic Spectrum

Today we’re covering:

  • Electromagnetic Spectrum

Let’s jump in!

What is light?
An electromagnetic (EM) wave.

What are EM waves then?
Transverse waves in 2 FIELDS: the electric field & the magnetic field.
These waves oscillate perpendicular to each other.

What are the properties of EM waves?

  • They do not need a medium to travel through, they travel through the electromagnetic field (which is present everywhere)
  • They always travel at the speed of light, c (3 x 108 ms-1)
  • They undergo the same effects as other waves (reflection, refraction, diffraction, superposition)*

*Later on, we’ll learn about the quantum weirdness of light (photons) & wave-particle duality. For now, we just need to know that light acts as a wave.

EM waves can have many frequencies. The entire map of EM frequencies is the ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM.

What does the electromagnetic spectrum look like?
Like this:

Image result for electromagnetic spectrum
From Radio2Space

A few, easy-to-remember average values for the wavelength of EM waves:


⇐ Previous in Physics: Doppler Effect
⇒ Next in Physics: Superposition

One thought on “PHY C14: Electromagnetic Spectrum

  1. Pingback: 14. WAVES – ProDuckThieves

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