What is the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is defined by frequency and wavelength. Frequency is abbreviated as a lower-case f and is frequently measured in Hertz, and wavelength is abbreviated as a symbol that looks kind of like a lower-case h, with more squiggles, and wavelength is measured in meters.

Now because light travels at a fairly constant speed, frequency is inversely proportional to wavelength. This concept is illustrated in the formula: frequency equals c, divided by wavelength. C stands for the speed of light. The speed of light is about 300 million meters per second.

Now frequency multiplied by wavelength equals the speed of the wave, and for electromagnetic waves this is going to be the speed of light with some variance for the medium in which it is traveling. Now electromagnetic waves include many different types of waves, as you can see here.

What I’ve done here is I’ve arranged these different types of waves from largest to smallest in terms of wavelength: we have radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, and gamma rays. Now, the energy of electromagnetic waves is carried in packets that have a magnitude inversely proportional to the wavelength.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: June 14, 2019