Wavelength Frequency & Energy Compared

$0.00

This diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum shows how wavelength, frequency and energy are related to one another.

  • The diagram shows that the electromagnetic spectrum can be described as bands of electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves which have the longest wavelengths and the lowest frequency appear at the top of the diagram whilst gamma rays which have the shortest wavelengths but the highest frequencies appear at the bottom.
  • A magnified view of the visible spectrum is shown on the left of the diagram. It forms a very small band of wavelengths, frequencies and energies within the electromagnetic spectrum as a whole.
  • Compare wavelength, frequency and energy by reading across the three columns.
  • For example, notice that in the wavelength column, the boundary between microwaves and radio waves is around 10 cm (centimetres). The corresponding value in the frequency column is 3GHz (gigahertz) and the energy column shows the energy carried by these waves as being between 1.24 µeV (micro electron volts) and 1.24 MeV (megaelectron volt).

Notice that:

  • There are arrows in each column that show the longest wavelength in the wavelength column is at the top whilst the highest frequency and highest energies are at the bottom of their respective columns.
  • The standard units in the three columns are metres, hertz and electronvolts, but metric prefixes are used to cope with the huge differences of scale from the top to the bottom of each column.
  • Wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency and energy, so the arrow in the wavelength column faces in the opposite direction to the other two.
  • Frequency and energy are directionally proportional so the arrows in those two columns face in the same direction.

Description

Wavelength, Frequency & Energy Compared

TRY SOME QUICK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GET STARTED
The frequency of a wave is a measurement of the number of waves passing a given point in a given period of time!
The hertz is used to measure the frequency of electromagnetic waves. Different prefixes denoting subdivisions are used to aid measurement eg. kilohertz (1,000 cycles/sec), megahertz ( 1,000,000 cycles/sec), gigahertz (1,000,000,000 cycles/sec) and terahertz (1,000,000,000,000 cycles/sec).

About the diagram

About the diagram
  • This diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum shows how wavelength, frequency and energy are related to one another.
  • The diagram shows that the electromagnetic spectrum can be described as bands of electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves which have the longest wavelengths and the lowest frequency appear at the top of the diagram whilst gamma rays which have the shortest wavelengths but the highest frequencies appear at the bottom.
  • A magnified view of the visible spectrum is shown on the left of the diagram. It forms a very small band of wavelengths, frequencies and energies within the electromagnetic spectrum as a whole.
  • Compare wavelength, frequency and energy by reading across the three columns.
  • For example, notice that in the wavelength column, the boundary between microwaves and radio waves is around 10 cm (centimetres). The corresponding value in the frequency column is 3GHz (gigahertz) and the energy column shows the energy carried by these waves as being between 1.24 µeV (microelectron volts) and 1.24 MeV (megaelectron volt).
Notice that:
  • There are arrows in each column that show the longest wavelength in the wavelength column is at the top whilst the highest frequency and highest energies are at the bottom of their respective columns.
  • The standard units in the three columns are metres, hertz and electronvolts, but metric prefixes are used to cope with the huge differences of scale from the top to the bottom of each column.
  • Wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency and energy, so the arrow in the wavelength column faces in the opposite direction to the other two.
  • Frequency and energy are directionally proportional so the arrows in those two columns face in the same direction.
  • The relationship between wavelength, frequency and energy means that:
    • As the wavelength of an electromagnetic wave get shorter its frequency increases, and as the wavelength gets longer its frequency decreases.
    • As the wavelength of an electromagnetic wave get shorter and its frequency increases and the amount of energy it transports becomes greater.
    • As the energy transported by an electromagnetic wave increases so does its frequency whilst its wavelength gets shorter.

Some key terms

Energy is a property of matter.

  • Everything contains energy including all forms of matter and so all objects.
  • Energy is evident in all forms of movement, interactions between, and changes to the forms and properties of matter.
  • At an atomic level, energy is evident in the movement of electrons around the nucleus of an atom. Energy is stored in the nucleus of atoms as a result of the forces that bind protons and neutrons together.
  • Energy can be transferred between objects, and converted from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.
  • Everything in the universe uses energy in one form or another.
  • When it comes down to it, matter is energy.
  • Light has energy but no mass so does not occupy space and has no volume.
  • Energy is often described as either being potential energy or kinetic energy.
  • Energy is measured in joules.

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 electronvolt is a unit of energy commonly used to measure the energy carried by electromagnetic radiation.

  • Electronvolts can be used for measurements at the scale of elementary particles as small as single photons, the quantum of the electromagnetic field.
  • One electronvolt is the amount of energy that a single electron has when it is accelerated by a potential difference of 1 volt.
  • If there is a difference in voltage of 1 volt between two points in an electrical circuit (within a capacitor for example) then the force required (and the energy gained) by a photon accelerating from one point to the other is 1 electronvolt.

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

The frequency of electromagnetic radiation (light) refers to the number of wave-cycles of an electromagnetic wave that pass a given point in a given amount of time.

The hertz (symbol: Hz) is a unit used to measure the frequency of electromagnetic waves.

    • 1 Hertz (Hz) = 1 cycle per second
    • 1 Kilohertz (kHz) = 1,000 (thousand) cycles per second
    • 1 Megahertz (MHz) = 1,000,000 (million) cycles per second
    • 1 Gigahertz (GHz) = 1,000,000,000 (billion) cycles per second
    • 1 Terahertz (THz) = 1,000,000,000,000 (trillion )cycles per second

Diagrams are free to download

Downloads: Slides or Illustrations


DOWNLOAD DIAGRAMS
  • SLIDES are optimized for viewing on-screen.
  • ILLUSTRATIONS are optimized for printing on A4 pages in portrait format.
SLIDES
  • Slides are available in JPG and AI (Adobe Illustrator) file formats.
  • Titles: Slides have titles.
  • Backgrounds: Black.
  • Size: 1686 x 1124 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
ILLUSTRATIONS
  • Illustrations are available in JPG and AI two file formats.
  • Titles: No titles.
  • Backgrounds: White.
  • Size: 1686 x 1124 (3:2 aspect ratio). So all illustrations reproduce at the same scale when inserted into Word documents etc.
  • Labels: Calibri 24pt Italic.

File formats: JPG & AI


DOWNLOAD THE DIAGRAM ON THIS PAGE AS A JPG FILE
  • JPG (JPEG) diagrams are 1686 x 1124 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
  • If a JPG diagram doesn’t fit your needs, you can download it as an AI (Adobe Illustrator) file and edit it yourself.
  • JPG files can be placed or pasted directly into MS Office documents.
DOWNLOAD THE DIAGRAM ON THIS PAGE AS AN AI file
  • All AI (Adobe Illustrator) diagrams are 1686 x 1124 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
  • All our diagrams are created in Adobe Illustrator as vector drawings.
  • Save as or export AI files to other formats including PDF (.pdf), PNG (.png), JPG (.jpeg) and SVG(.svg) etc.

Spelling: UK & US


We use English (UK) spelling by default here at lightcolourvision.org.

COPY & PASTING TEXT
  • After copy/pasting text please do a spell-check to change our spelling to match your own document.
DOWNLOAD DIAGRAMS
  • Download AI versions of diagrams to change the spelling or language used for titles, labels etc.
  • We are adding American English (US) versions of diagrams on request. Just contact us and let us know what you need.
  • When downloading JPG versions of diagrams, look out for JPG (UK) or JPG (US) in the download dialogue box.

Download agreement


DOWNLOAD AGREEMENT

Light, Colour, Vision & How To See More (https://lightcolourvision.org) : Copyright © 2015-2022 : MediaStudies Trust.

Unless stated otherwise the author of all images and written content on lightcolourvision.org is Ric Mann.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No part of this website may be copied, displayed, extracted, reproduced, utilised, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or scanning without the prior written permission of MediaStudies Trust.

EXCEPTIONS

Exceptions to the above statement are made for personal, educational and non-profit purposes:

Before downloading, cutting and pasting or reproducing any information, images or other assets found on lightcolourvision.org we ask you to agree to the following terms:

  1. All information, images and other assets displayed and made available for download on the lightcolourvision.org website are copyright. This means there are limitations on how they can be used.
  2. All information, images and other assets displayed or made available for download are solely and exclusively to be used for personal, educational and non-profit purposes.
  3. When you find the resources you need, then part of the download process involves you (the user) ticking a box to let us (at lightcolourvision.org) know we both agree on how the material can be used.
  4. Please contact [email protected] before considering any use not covered by the terms of the agreement above.

The copyright to all information, images and all other assets (unless otherwise stated) belongs to:

The Trustees. MediaStudies Trust
111 Lynbrooke Avenue
Blockhouse Bay
Auckland 0600
New Zealand
[email protected]

We love feedback

Your name and email address will be used solely to provide you with information you have specifically requested. See our privacy policy at https://lightcolourvision.org/privacy/.


We welcome your feedback 🙂









    Note: The feedback form records the URL of the current page


    Thank you so much for your time and effort