Comparing Wavelengths of Red & Violet

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This diagram compares the wavelength of two electromagnetic waves that correspond with an observer’s perception of red and violet.

  • The diagram also looks at the units used when wavelength is being measured.
  • Notice that the wavelength of the red wave is much longer than the violet wave.
  • The wave cycle is measured from peak to peak and is marked by the dotted line.
  • The amplitude of both waves is the same.
  • Because the wavelength of the violet wave is shorter than the red its frequency is higher.
  • The unit of measurement of wavelength is the metre.
  • Because the wavelength of electromagnetic waves is so small, metres are sub-divided into micrometres, nanometres and picometres.
  • The number of each unit per metre is shown on the diagram.

Description

Comparing Wavelengths of Red & Violet

TRY SOME QUICK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GET STARTED
The frequency of a given electromagnetic wave can be calculated by dividing the speed of light in a vacuum (300,000,000 m/s) by its wavelength measured in metres.
The visible spectrum is associated with the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

About the diagram

About the diagram
  • This diagram compares the wavelength of two electromagnetic waves that correspond with an observer’s perception of red and violet.
  • The diagram also looks at the units used when wavelength is being measured.
  • Notice that the wavelength of the red wave is much longer than the violet wave.
  • The wave cycle is measured from peak to peak and is marked by the dotted line.
  • The amplitude of both waves is the same.
  • Because the wavelength of the violet wave is shorter than the red its frequency is higher.
  • The unit of measurement of wavelength is the metre.
  • Because the wavelength of electromagnetic waves is so small, metres are sub-divided into micrometres, nanometres and picometres.
  • The number of each unit per metre is shown on the diagram.
Remember that:
  • The position of an electromagnetic wave within the electromagnetic spectrum is determined by its frequency or wavelength.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes, in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength: radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through visible light up to high energy gamma rays.
  • The full range of wavelengths of visible light, between red and violet, is called the visible spectrum.

Some key terms

The electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves with all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through visible light to high energy gamma rays.

  • There are no precisely defined boundaries between the bands of electromagnetic radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes, in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength: radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.
  • Visible light is only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

A nanometre is a unit of measurement of the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation.

In physics and optics, a wave diagram uses a set of drawing conventions and labels to describe the attributes of light waves including wavelength, frequency, amplitude and direction of travel.

Electromagnetic radiation refers to the transfer of all forms of radiation through space by electromagnetic waves.

  • Electromagnetic radiation includes gamma rays, ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR), X-rays, and radio waves, as well as visible light.
  • Detached from its source, electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation), is transported by electromagnetic waves (or their quanta, photons) and propagates through empty space at the speed of light.
  • Man-made technologies that produce electromagnetic radiation include radio and TV transmitters, radar, MRI scanners, microwave ovens, computer screens, mobile phones, all types of lights and lamps, electric blankets, electric bar heaters, lasers and x-ray machines.

Wavelength is a measurement from any point on the path of a wave to the same point on its next oscillation. The measurement is made parallel to the centre-line of the wave.

An electromagnetic wave carries electromagnetic radiation.

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