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Electromagnetic Radiation

Electromagnetic Radiation

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Published by: enlightearthhawaii514 on Dec 14, 2009
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Electromagnetic radiation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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[show]Electrostatics [show]Magnetostatics [hide]Electrodynamics
Free space
 Lorentz force law
 Faraday’s law
 Lenz's law
 Maxwell's equations
 EM field
 Liénard-Wiechert Potential
 Maxwell tensor
 Eddy current
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Electromagnetic radiation
(often abbreviated
E-M radiation
) is aphenomenonthat takes the form of self-propagating wavesin avacuumor inmatter. It consistsof electricandmagnetic fieldcomponents whichoscillatein phase perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of  energypropagation.Electromagnetic radiation is classified into several types according to thefrequencyof its wave; these types include (in order of  increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength):radio waves,microwaves,terahertz radiation,infrared radiation,visible light,ultraviolet radiation,X- raysandgamma rays. A small and somewhat variable window of frequencies issensedby theeyesof variousorganisms; this is what we call thevisible spectrum, orlight. EM radiation carriesenergyandmomentumthat may be imparted tomatterwith which it interacts.
[hide]1 Physics
1.1 Theory
1.2 Properties
1.3 Wave model
1.4 Particle model
1.5 Speed of propagation2 Thermal radiation and electromagnetic radiation as a form of heat3 Electromagnetic spectrum
3.1 Light
3.2 Radio waves4 Derivation5 See also6 References7 External links
[edit] Physics
[edit] Theory
Shows three electromagnetic modes (blue, green and red) with a distance scale in micrometres along the x-axis.Main article:Maxwell's equations
Electromagnetic waves
were first postulated byJames Clerk Maxwelland subsequently confirmed byHeinrich Hertz. Maxwell derived awave form of the electric and magnetic equations, revealing the wave-like nature of electric and magnetic fields, and their symmetry. Because the speed of EMwaves predicted by the wave equation coincided with the measuredspeed of light, Maxwell concluded thatlightitself is an EM wave. According toMaxwell's equations, a spatially-varyingelectric fieldgenerates a time-varyingmagnetic fieldand
vice versa
. Therefore, as an oscillatingelectric field generates an oscillating magnetic field, the magnetic field in turn generates an oscillating electric field, and so on. These oscillating fieldstogether form an electromagnetic wave.Aquantum theoryof the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter such as electrons is described by the theory of quantum electrodynamics.
[edit] Properties
Electromagnetic wavescan be imagined as a self-propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields. This diagram shows a planelinearly polarized wave propagating from right to left. The electric field is in a vertical plane, the magnetic field in a horizontal plane.Thephysicsof electromagnetic radiation iselectrodynamics, a subfield of electromagnetism. Electric and magnetic fields obey the properties of  superpositionso that a field due to any particular particle or time-varying electric or magnetic field will contribute to the fields present in the same spacedue to other causes: as they arevectorfields, all magnetic and electric field vectors add together according to vector addition. For instance, a travellingEM wave incident on an atomic structure induces oscillation in theatomsof that structure, thereby causing them to emit their own EM waves,emissions  which alter the impinging wave through interference. These properties cause various phenomena includingrefractionanddiffraction. Since light is an oscillation it is not affected by travelling through static electric or magnetic fields in a linear medium such as a vacuum. However innonlinear media, such as somecrystals, interactions can occur between light and static electric and magnetic fields
— these interactions include theFaraday effectand theKerr effect. In refraction, a wave crossing from one medium to another of differentdensityalters its speed and direction upon entering the new medium. The ratio of the refractive indices of the media determines the degree of refraction, and is summarized bySnell's law. Light disperses into a visiblespectrumas light is shone through a prism because of the wavelength dependent refractive index of the prism material (Dispersion).EM radiation exhibits both wave properties andparticleproperties at the same time (seewave-particle duality). Both wave and particle characteristics have been confirmed in a large number of experiments. Wave characteristics are more apparent when EM radiation is measured over relatively largetimescales and over large distances while particle characteristics are more evident when measuring small timescales and distances. For example, whenelectromagnetic radiation is absorbed by matter, particle-like properties will be more obvious when the average number of photons in the cube of therelevant wavelength is much smaller than 1. Upon absorption the quantum nature of the light leads to clearly non-uniform deposition of energy.
There are experiments in which the wave and particle natures of electromagnetic waves appear in the same experiment, such as the diffraction of a singlephoton. When a single photon is sent through two slits, it passes through both of them interfering with itself, as waves do, yet is detected by aphotomultiplieror other sensitive detector only once. Similar self-interference is observed when a single photon is sent into aMichelson interferometer  or otherinterferometers.
[edit] Wave model
White light beingseparatedinto its components.An important aspect of the nature of light isfrequency. The frequency of a wave is its rate of oscillation and is measured inhertz, theSIunit of  frequency, where one hertz is equal to one oscillation persecond. Light usually has a spectrum of frequencies which sum together to form the resultantwave. Different frequencies undergo different angles of refraction.A wave consists of successive troughs and crests, and the distance between two adjacent crests or troughs is called thewavelength. Waves of theelectromagnetic spectrum vary in size, from very long radio waves the size of buildings to very short gamma rays smaller than atom nuclei. Frequency isinversely proportional to wavelength, according to the equation:where
is the speed of the wave (
in a vacuum, or less in other media),
is the frequency and
is the wavelength. As waves cross boundaries betweendifferent media, their speeds change but their frequencies remain constant.Interferenceis the superposition of two or more waves resulting in a new wave pattern. If the fields have components in the same direction, theyconstructively interfere, while opposite directions cause destructive interference.The energy in electromagnetic waves is sometimes calledradiant energy.
[edit] Particle model
See also:Quantization (physics)
andQuantum opticsElectromagnetic radiation has particle-like properties as discrete packets of energy, orquanta, calledphotons.
The frequency of the wave isproportional to the particle's energy. Because photons are emitted and absorbed by charged particles, they act as transporters of energy. The energy perphotoncan be calculated from thePlanck–Einstein equation:
is the energy,
isPlanck's constant, and
is frequency. This photon-energy expression is a particular case of the energy levels of the moregeneral
electromagnetic oscillator
whose average energy, which is used to obtain Planck's radiation law, can be shown to differ sharply from that

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