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Electronmagnetic waves

Physics (Year 12) - Wave Particle Duality and Quantum Theory

Dev Lohar

Light as electromagnetic wave

Light is a form of electromagnetic wave. An electromagnetic wave is oscillating electric and magnetic field perpendicular to each other. Electromagnetic waves are produced by oscillating charged particles. If a charged particle is oscillating at a certain frequency, then the electromagnetic wave would oscillate at that frequency. Similarly, if an electromagnetic wave moves past a stationary charge, then the charge would oscillate at the frequency of the wave.


This idea was developed by James Maxwell in the 19th century when he formed a comprehensive theory of electromagnetism.

The speed of light, frequency and wavelength are related by the following equation:

Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is a set of all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic waves.


Changing the frequency and wavelength of an electromagnetic wave, changes its properties.

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