Electromagnetic spectrum and electromagnetic waves

Electromagnetic spectrum and Electromagnetic Waves

Electromagnetic radiation refers to the waves of the electromagnetic field that propagates through the vacuum and carries energy. Electromagnetic waves do not require a material medium for transmission. The spectrum of electromagnetic radiation includes radio waves, gamma rays, microwaves, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays and visible light. 

Electromagnetic waves travelling in vacuum

The electromagnetic waves propagate through the vacuum due to the mutual changes in the electric field and magnetic field. The article answers questions like how do electromagnetic waves travel in a vacuum. The variation in the electric field and magnetic field associated with the wave leads to the transfer of energy. This energy is carried by the electromagnetic wave. 

Electromagnetic spectrum

The entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum includes radio gamma rays, microwaves, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays and visible light. These rays have different wavelengths, frequencies, energy and penetrating level. Let us learn more about the electromagnetic spectrum and electromagnetic waves


Radio waves: The radio waves have a wavelength longer than the infrared rays. The radio waves have a frequency ranging from 300 gigahertz to 30 hertz. Radio waves are generated during lightning by the acceleration of charged particles. These rays are also emitted by astronomical objects. Radio waves are used for communication purposes


Microwaves: The wavelength of microwaves ranges from one metre to one millimetre and the frequency of these waves ranges between 300 MHz to 300 GHz. The microwave has a wide range of applications like wireless network, satellite communications, spectroscopy, cooking in the oven etc. 


Infrared rays: These rays are not visible but can be felt as heat. The main source of IR rays is the Sun. The wavelength of infrared rays is larger than the visible light. The frequency range of infrared rays is from 430 THz to 300 GHz.  Infrared rays are used in industrial, medical and scientific applications. 


X rays: X rays have higher energy than visible rays. The wavelength of x rays ranges from 10 picometers to 10 nanometers with the corresponding frequency of 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz. X Rays can penetrate into objects. X Rays are used for medical purposes in taking images of bones inside the human body. 


Gamma rays: Gamma rays have the strongest wavelength and the highest penetrating energy. They have a very short wavelength, it is less than 10 picometers and a frequency more than 1019 hertz. The energy of gamma rays is greater than 100 keV. Gamma rays are used in medical application. 


Ultraviolet rays: The wavelength of ultraviolet rays ranges from 10 to 400 nm. The ultraviolet rays are used to sterilise the surfaces. These rays are responsible for the formation of vitamin D. 


Visible light: This helps us to see things around us. Visible light includes seven colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Visible light has a wavelength range from 380 nm to 700 nm and this corresponds to a frequency range of 670 THz to 480 THz. 


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