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  • List three “rules of thumb” that apply to the different frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Explain why the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength of an electromagnetic wave.
  • Draw a simplified electromagnetic spectrum, indicating the relative positions, frequencies, and spacing of the different types of radiation bands.
  • List and explain the different methods by which electromagnetic waves are produced across the spectrum.

In this module we examine how electromagnetic waves are classified into categories such as radio, infrared, ultraviolet, and so on, so that we can understand some of their similarities as well as some of their differences. We will also find that there are many connections with previously discussed topics, such as wavelength and resonance. A brief overview of the production and utilization of electromagnetic waves is found in [link] .

Electromagnetic waves
Type of EM wave Production Applications Life sciences aspect Issues
Radio&TV Accelerating charges Communications Remote controls MRI Requires controls for band use
Microwaves Accelerating charges&thermal agitation Communications Ovens Radar Deep heating Cell phone use
Infrared Thermal agitations&electronic transitions Thermal imaging Heating Absorbed by atmosphere Greenhouse effect
Visible light Thermal agitations&electronic transitions All pervasive Photosynthesis Human vision
Ultraviolet Thermal agitations&electronic transitions Sterilization Cancer control Vitamin D production Ozone depletion Cancer causing
X-rays Inner electronic transitions and fast collisions Medical Security Medical diagnosis Cancer therapy Cancer causing
Gamma rays Nuclear decay Nuclear medicineSecurity Medical diagnosis Cancer therapy Cancer causing Radiation damage

Connections: waves

There are many types of waves, such as water waves and even earthquakes. Among the many shared attributes of waves are propagation speed, frequency, and wavelength. These are always related by the expression v W = size 12{v rSub { size 8{W} } =fλ} {} . This module concentrates on EM waves, but other modules contain examples of all of these characteristics for sound waves and submicroscopic particles.

As noted before, an electromagnetic wave has a frequency and a wavelength associated with it and travels at the speed of light, or c size 12{c} {} . The relationship among these wave characteristics can be described by v W = size 12{v rSub { size 8{W} } =fλ} {} , where v W size 12{v rSub { size 8{W} } } {} is the propagation speed of the wave, f size 12{f} {} is the frequency, and λ size 12{λ} {} is the wavelength. Here v W = c size 12{v rSub { size 8{W} } =c} {} , so that for all electromagnetic waves,

c = . size 12{c = fλ} {}

Thus, for all electromagnetic waves, the greater the frequency, the smaller the wavelength.

[link] shows how the various types of electromagnetic waves are categorized according to their wavelengths and frequencies—that is, it shows the electromagnetic spectrum. Many of the characteristics of the various types of electromagnetic waves are related to their frequencies and wavelengths, as we shall see.

An electromagnetic spectrum is shown. Different wave category regions are indicated using double sided arrows based on the values of their wavelength, energy, and frequency; the visual strip is also shown. The radio wave region is further segmented into AM radio, FM radio, and microwaves bands.
The electromagnetic spectrum, showing the major categories of electromagnetic waves. The range of frequencies and wavelengths is remarkable. The dividing line between some categories is distinct, whereas other categories overlap.

Questions & Answers

how lesers can transmit information
mitul Reply
griffts bridge derivative
Ganesh Reply
below me
please explain; when a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negative- yet both attracts dust. does dust have third types of charge that is attracted to both positive and negative
Timothy Reply
what is a conductor
below me
why below you
no....I said below me ...... nothing below .....ok?
dust particles contains both positive and negative charge particles
corona charge can verify
when pressure increases the temperature remain what?
Ibrahim Reply
what is frequency
Mbionyi Reply
define precision briefly
Sujitha Reply
CT scanners do not detect details smaller than about 0.5 mm. Is this limitation due to the wavelength of x rays? Explain.
hope this helps
what's critical angle
Mahmud Reply
The Critical Angle Derivation So the critical angle is defined as the angle of incidence that provides an angle of refraction of 90-degrees. Make particular note that the critical angle is an angle of incidence value. For the water-air boundary, the critical angle is 48.6-degrees.
dude.....next time Google it
okay whatever
pls who can give the definition of relative density?
the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.
What is momentum
aliyu Reply
mass ×velocity
it is the product of mass ×velocity of an object
how do I highlight a sentence]p? I select the sentence but get options like copy or web search but no highlight. tks. src
Sean Reply
then you can edit your work anyway you want
Wat is the relationship between Instataneous velocity
Oyinlusi Reply
Instantaneous velocity is defined as the rate of change of position for a time interval which is almost equal to zero
The potential in a region between x= 0 and x = 6.00 m lis V= a+ bx, where a = 10.0 V and b = -7.00 V/m. Determine (a) the potential atx=0, 3.00 m, and 6.00 m and (b) the magnitude and direction of the electric ficld at x =0, 3.00 m, and 6.00 m.
what is energy
Victor Reply
hi all?
energy is when you finally get up of your lazy azz and do some real work 😁
what is physics
faith Reply
what are the basic of physics
base itself is physics
tree physical properties of heat
Bello Reply
tree is a type of organism that grows very tall and have a wood trunk and branches with leaves... how is that related to heat? what did you smoke man?
algum profe sabe .. Progressivo ou Retrógrado e Acelerado ou Retardado   V= +23 m/s        V= +5 m/s        0__>              0__> __________________________>        T= 0               T=6s

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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