An electromagnetic wave carries electromagnetic radiation.
- An electromagnetic wave is formed as electromagnetic radiation propagates from a light source, travels through space and encounters different materials.
- Electromagnetic waves can be imagined as synchronised oscillations of electric and magnetic fields that propagate at the speed of light in a vacuum.
- Electromagnetic waves are similar to other types of waves in so far as they can be measured in terms of wavelength, frequency and amplitude.
- We can feel electromagnetic waves release their energy when sunlight warms our skin.
- Remember that electromagnetic radiation can be described either as an oscillating wave or as a stream of particles, called photons, which also travel in a wave-like pattern.
- The notion of waves is often used to describe phenomena such as refraction or reflection whilst the particle analogy is used when dealing with phenomena such as diffraction and interference.