Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is the collection of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic waves, which we commonly refer too as light.


The table's caption
Type of wave Frequency range Wavelength Range
Radio Waves 300 GHz to as low as 3 kHz, 1 millimeter to 100 kilometers
Microwaves (0.3 to 300) GHz 1 mm to 1 m
Infrared 300 GHZ to 430 THz
Visible Light (430–790 THz 390 to 700 nm
UV 750 THz to 30,000 THz 10 to 400 nm
Xray
Gamma

Electromagnetic waves have many different properties, and one of the most interesting ones is the property of duality. As asserted by the double-slit experiment (one of the experiments that inspired quantum mechanics), electromagnetic waves behave like both particles and waves, depending on the experiment being used to identify it. If an experiment tries to detect light as a particle, it will. If an experiment tries to detect light as a wave, it also will. For example, if we were to make a barrier with two extremely small slits in it, so that light could pass through, then shined a source of light on it, a detector on the other side would detect a series of lines, even in places that were not behind the slit. This can only lead to the conclusion that the detector was detecting an interference pattern. On the other hand, if we shine light onto a polished piece of metal, we find that it generates current. This should only be possible if light is a particle.

One famous equation describing the energy of light is $E = hf$, where $E$ is the energy of the light, $h$ is Planck's constant and $f$ is the frequency of the light.


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