Wavelength and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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To find out more about the diagram above . . . . read on!

Wavelength and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Look carefully at the diagram at the top of the page. Now check out the following questions (and answers)!

  1. What unit of measurement is used to measure the wavelength of electromagnetic waves?
  2. Which type of electromagnetic radiation has the shortest wavelengths?
  3. Do radio waves or gamma rays transport more energy?
  4. Do shorter waves have a higher frequency?
  5. Does a wave with a low frequency have a long wavelength?

About the Diagram

Introducing the diagram! Read back and forward between the image at the top of the page and the explanation below!

This diagram shows that the electromagnetic spectrum includes waves with all possible wavelengths of radiation.

Notice that:

  • Wavelengths range from low energy radio waves through visible light to high energy gamma rays.
  • Waves with longer wavelengths have a lower frequency and carry less energy.
  • Waves with shorter wavelengths have a higher frequency and carry more energy.

Remember that:

  • 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.
  • There are no precisely defined boundaries between the bands of electromagnetic radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Visible light is only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Energy (electromagnetic energy) is the radiant energy (light) transported by electromagnetic waves.
  • The term light can be used in three different ways:
    • Light can be used to mean the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves, through visible light to gamma rays. A better term is radiant energy or photon energy.
    • Light can be used to mean the range of wavelengths and frequencies that can be detected by the human eye. A better term is visible light which refers to the wavelengths that correspond with the colours between red and violet, the visible spectrum.
    • Light can be used to mean the range of wavelengths and frequencies between infra-red and ultra-violet. This usage is useful because the outer limits of the visible spectrum change under different lighting conditions and for different individuals.
  • Referring to visible light simply as light is short-hand.
  • Visible light is not the same for all living things.

Follow the blue links for definitions . . . . or check the summaries of key terms below!

Some Key Terms

Move to the next level! Check out the following terms.

Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves with all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through ...
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Electromagnetic wave

An electromagnetic wave carries electromagnetic radiation. An electromagnetic wave is formed as electromagnetic radiation propagates from a light source, travels ...
Read More

Energy

Energy is a property of matter. Everything contains energy including all forms of matter and so all objects. Energy is ...
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Frequency

The frequency of electromagnetic radiation (light) refers to the number of wave-cycles of an electromagnetic wave that pass a given ...
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Wave-cycle

A wave-cycle refers to the path of a wave measured from any point through the course of a single oscillation ...
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Wavelength

Wavelength is a measurement from any point on the path of a wave to the same point on its next ...
Read More

More Information

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  • Slides are available in two file formats: JPG, AI (Adobe Illustrator).

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Diagrams are optimized for printing on A4 pages in portrait format.

ABOUT DIAGRAMS

Diagrams


Some images on this website are available for download as either slides or diagrams.

Diagrams share common specifications:

  • Titles: No titles.
  • Backgrounds: White.
  • Size: 1686 pixels wide. So all diagrams reproduce at the same scale when inserted into Word documents etc.
  • Labels: Calibri 24pt Italic.
  • Diagrams are available in two file formats: JPG, AI (Adobe Illustrator).

Diagrams are optimized for printing on A4 pages in portrait format.
Slides are optimized for viewing on-screen or using a projector.

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Download the image at the top of this page as a JPG file:

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  • If the image you need is not exactly right, download it as an AI (Adobe Illustrator) file and edit it.
  • All the images on these Resource Pages were created in Adobe Illustrator and are vector drawings.

Did you know:

  • JPG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group who created the standard.
  • The JPG file extension is used interchangeably with JPEG.
  • JPG files can be compressed for use on websites.
  • JPG files can be placed or pasted directly into MS Office documents.

FILE TYPES - AI

AI (Adobe Illustrator) file format


Download the image at the top of this page as an AI (Adobe Illustrator) file:

  • All AI images available for download from lightcolourvision.org are 1686px wide.
  • All the images on these Resource Pages were created in Adobe Illustrator and are vector drawings.
  • Vector drawing can be scaled up or down without any loss of quality.

Did you know:

  • AI  files downloaded from lightcolourvision.org can be re-edited using Adobe Illustrator for your own personal use.
  • Adobe Illustrator can save or export AI files to other formats including PDF (.pdf), PNG (.png), JPG (.jpeg) and SVG(.svg) etc.

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If you are a student, educator or researcher you might also like to read our posts Copyright: Credit where credit’s due and Citation and bibliographies before copying and pasting material into essays, assignments or other academic work. They include advice on avoiding plagiarism and how to credit other people’s words, images and assets before submitting your work for marking or assessment. If you are confused, just ask a friendly teacher, librarian, or other member of academic staff.


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