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MAP TAP 2003-2004 The Electromagnetic Spectrum 1

The Electromagnetic
Spectrum
Wavelength/frequency/energy
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Teacher Page
Content: Physical ScienceThe
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Grade Level: High School
Creator: Dorothy Walk
Curriculum Objectives: SC 1; Intro
Phys/Chem IV.A (waves)
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What is it?
The electromagnetic spectrum is the complete
spectrum or continuum of light including radio
waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-
rays and gamma rays
An electromagnetic wave consists of electric and
magnetic fields which vibrates thus making
waves.
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Waves
Properties of waves include speed, frequency
and wavelength
Speed (s), frequency (f) and wavelength (l) are
related in the formula l x f = s
All light travels at a speed of 3 s 10
8
m/s in a
vacuum

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Wavelength, Frequency and
Energy
Since all light travels at the same speed,
wavelength and frequency have an
indirect relationship.
Light with a short wavelength will have a
high frequency and light with a long
wavelength will have a low frequency.
Light with short wavelengths has high
energy and long wavelength has low
energy
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Radio waves
Low energy waves with long wavelengths
Includes FM, AM, radar and TV waves
Wavelengths of 10
-1
m and longer
Low frequency
Used in many devices such as remote control
items, cell phones, wireless devices, etc.

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Microwaves
Longer than radio, shorter
than light and infrared
Wavelength 1 x 10
- 4
m to
1 x 10
-1
m
First used in radar, now
used in communication,
medicine and consumer
use (microwave ovens)

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Infrared waves
Invisible electromagnetic waves
that are detected as heat
Can be detected with special
devices such as night goggles
Used in heat lamps
Higher energy than microwaves
but lower than visible light
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Visible Light
The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum
that human eyes can detect
ROY G BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
indigo, violet)
Red is the lowest frequency and violet is the
highest frequency

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Ultraviolet waves
Higher energy than light waves
Can cause skin cancer and blindness in
humans
Used in tanning beds and sterilizing
equipment

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X-Rays
High energy waves
First discovered by
Roentgen
Used in medicine,
industry and astronomy
Can cause cancer
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Gamma rays
Highest energy
Blocked from Earths surface
by atmosphere


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Time to think..
1. What is the relationship
between frequency and
wavelength?

2. What is meant by spectrum?

3. What does ROY G BIV mean?
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Now, lets really think
4. Can you actually see x-rays?
Support your answer.
5. Which color is more energetic, red
or yellow?
6. Which type of wave travels faster,
gamma or radio?
7. Why are microwaves more
dangerous than radio waves?


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Think about it.
You have just been involved
in a traffic incident that
leaves you stranded on the
side of the road. Which part
of the electromagnetic
spectrum would be of the
most use to you and why?
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Answers
1. Frequency and wavelength are properties of waves and since
speed is constant for em waves, as frequency increases,
wavelength decreases.
2. Spectrum is a continuum of all electromagnetic waves
3, ROY G BIV is the difference colors of the visible light in order of
longest wavelength to shortest wavelength.
4. X-rays can not be seen, only the waves in the visible light portion
are visible.
5. Yellow is higher energy than red because it has a shorter
wavelength and higher frequency.
6. Both travel at the same speed, 300,000 km/s (all em waves travel
at the same speed)
7. Microwaves have a higher frequency than radio and carry more
energy.