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Electromagnetic Radiation - Wave Nature

Define Electromagnetic Radiation

When a charge is put in a magnetic or an electric field, it encounters a force acting on it. If multiple charges are placed, they experience interaction due to one another.
James Maxwell was the first scientist to explain the interaction of charges in the attendance of magnetic and electric fields in the year 1870. According to his study, when electrically charged particles accelerate, alternating magnetic and electrical fields are produced and transmitted. These fields travel in the form of electromagnetic radiation waves. An example of electromagnetic radiation is a light wave.

Properties of EMR

  • The oscillating charged particles generate oscillating magnetic and electric fields.
  • The fields are perpendicular to one another and also perpendicular to the wave's direction of propagation.
  • Electromagnetic waves are not dependent on a medium to travel, therefore they can also travel in a vacuum.
  • There are various types of electromagnetic radiation that differ in wavelength or frequency.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum is made up of all of this electromagnetic radiation.
  • Radio frequency region, infrared region, microwave region, visible region, ultraviolet region and so on.
  • Various properties of electromagnetic radiation, such as wavelength, frequency, and time period, are used to classify it.


The total number of electromagnetic waves passing through a set point in one second is defined as frequency. It is equivalent to the reciprocal of the timespan of electromagnetic radiation. The following is a general equation relating the speed of light, frequency, and wavelength of electromagnetic radiation:
c = ν 𝝀

  • c= light’s speed
  • ν= electromagnetic wave’s frequency
  • 𝝀 = electromagnetic wave’s wavelength

Other parameters, in addition to wavelength and frequency, are used to classify electromagnetic radiation. The wave number is one of these parameters. The number of wavelengths per unit length is defined as the wave number. It is mathematically equal to the reciprocal of the wavelength. It is denoted by the SI unit m-1.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is electromagnetic radiation's wave nature?
A: Electromagnetic (EM) radiation is a type of energy that is transmitted in the form of electromagnetic waves through material medium or free space. The existence of electromagnetic radiation is both a particle and a wave.

Q2. Is it possible that electromagnetic radiation is harmful to humans?
A: There is no doubt that short-term exposure to extremely high levels of electromagnetic fields can be harmful to one's health. Despite detailed research, there is hardly any evidence to suggest that low-level exposure to electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.

Q3. What exactly is the nature of waves?
A: A longitudinal wave is a disturbance that moves through a medium, such as water or air. Fluids like these are thought to be made up of a massive number of particles made up of a massive number of molecules each.

Q4. What are electromagnetic waves and what are their properties?
A: In a vacuum, EM waves have a fixed frequency of 3.00 x 108 ms-1. They are not deflected by the gravitational or electric fields. They can, however, exhibit diffraction or interference. An electric pulse can pass through something, whether it is an object, air or a vacuum.

Q5. Is electromagnetic energy a source of light?
A: Gamma rays, radio waves, visible light, and all other components of the electromagnetic spectrum are examples of electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation can be constituted as a stream of massless particles called photons. Each photon can travel at the speed of light in a pattern of waves.

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