Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation is a type of energy more commonly simply called light. Detached from its source, it is transported by electromagnetic waves (or their quanta, photons) and propagates through space at the speed of light.

  • Electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation or EMR) includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, (visible) light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.
  • 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.
  • At the quantum scale of electromagnetism, electromagnetic radiation is described in terms of photons rather than waves. Photons are elementary particles responsible for all electromagnetic phenomena.
  • The term quantum refers to the smallest quantity into which something can be divided. A quantum of a thing is indivisible into smaller units so they have no sub-structure.  A photon is a quantum of electromagnetic radiation.
  • A single photon with a wavelength corresponding with gamma rays might carry 100,000 times the energy of a single photon of visible light.