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# General Wave Properties

What is a wave?
A wave is a transfer of energy from one
point to another via a traveling disturbance

## A wave is characterized by its wavelength,

frequency, and amplitude
Transverse
Waves that travel
perpendicular to
the direction of
motion

Examples: Light,
-p waves
for earthquakes,
Ocean waves
Longitudinal
Waves that travel parallel
to the direction of
motion
and rarefactions in the
medium that they are
traveling in
Examples: sound waves
and s waves for
earthquakes
Do You See The Difference
Between
Transverse And Longitudinal W
aves
?
Wavelength ()
Distance from
successive crest to
crest or trough to
trough

Measured in meters
Frequency
Number of crests
passing by per
second
Measured in Hertz
(Hz) defined to be one
cycle per sec
Equal to the inverse of
the amount of time it
takes one wavelength
to pass by
Amplitude
Maximum displacement
of the wave
The amplitude will have
different units depending
on the type of wave
In a sketch of the wave, it
is the distance from the
middle of the wave to the
peak
Wave Speed

## Traveling Waves move through space at a certain speed

f v
Where,
v is the speed of the wave (m/s)
is the wavelength in meters (m)
f is the frequency in Hertz (cycle/s)
Matter / Quantum Waves
Electrons and other tiny particles show wave-like
properties
A particle moving close to the speed of light (c)
can diffract or bend around the edges of objects
Also, particles do exhibit interference which is a
wavelike property
Any moving matter has wave characteristics in
theory BUT the wavelength of any life-size
particle, like a golf ball, is so small that it is
negligible
To learn about matter waves in depth go on to
the next slide; if not click
If we can sometimes consider an
electron to be a wave, what is its
wavelength?
Its wavelength depends on its
momentum
h
p

or
h

mv
where p is momentum in kg*m/s, h is Plancks
constant = 6.63 x 10-34 J, and is the
wavelength in meters
What is Plancks constant?

## Plancks Constant is the size where quantum

mechanics becomes necessary
Since "Planck's Constant" (h= 6.63 x 10 - 34 Js)
is such a tiny number, quantum mechanics is
needed only at very small scales
An electron also has spin that is quantized in
units of h.
These units (Joule-sec) are units of
angular momentum
Electromagnetic Waves

## Waves of energy emitted from any accelerating

charges
Any object that is above absolute zero emits
electromagnetic waves
The entire range of possibilities is called the
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Electromagnetic Waves

Wavelength is :
c hc

f E
Where,
c is the speed of light (3 x 108 m/s in a vacuum)
is the wavelength in meters
f is the frequency in Hertz
And
h is Plancks constant (there it is again- do you remember its
value?)
E is the energy of a photon in Joules
What is this photon term youre
throwing in there?
A photon is a bundle (quantum) of light
A photon has energy equal to
E h
Recall that
h is Planks constant
is the frequency of the radiation (wave)
What does a photon do?
Both magnetic and
electric forces involve
the exchange of
photons

## The photon has zero

rest mass, but has
momentum, can be
deflected gravity, and
can exert a force
TYPES OF ELECTROMAGNETIC
WAVES
GAMMA RAYS
Emitted from the nuclei of
decay or during high-
speed collisions with
particles.
Ionizing
Used in cancer treatment
and for sterilization
Sources: Cobalt 60, the
inner core of the sun
X-RAYS
Emitted when an electron
moves from certain excited
states back down to its
ground state, or when an
electron that is moving very
quickly is suddenly stopped
Two groups - long
wavelength (soft x-rays) and
shorter wavelength (hard x-
rays)
photography) and to look at
materials in industry for
defects
Sources: emitted by heavy
atoms after bombardment by
an electron
ULTRAVIOLET
Above the color violet
Three groups - UV A, UV
B, and UV C.
A type: longest
wavelength; least harmful
UV B and UV C are
absorbed by DNA in
cells
Used by the body to
produce vitamin D, to kill
bacteria on objects, and
for sun tanning
Sources: Ultra hot
objects 5000C or more
VISIBLE LIGHT
White light: Color Wavelength interval Frequency interval
combination of all
the colors red ~ 625 to 740 nm ~ 480 to 405 THz
Rainbow: example orange ~ 590 to 625 nm ~ 510 to 480 THz
of white light that
has been yellow ~ 565 to 590 nm ~ 530 to 510 THz
separated into a
continuous green ~ 520 to 565 nm ~ 580 to 530 THz
spectrum of colors
The names of cyan ~ 500 to 520 nm ~ 600 to 580 THz
colors are assigned
in order of their blue ~ 430 to 500 nm ~ 700 to 600 THz
wavelengths
Used for violet ~ 380 to 430 nm ~ 790 to 700 THz
communications
(fiber optics)
Sources: very hot
objects
INFRARED

## Thought of as heat but is

not always
Far infrared energy is heat
energy.
All objects that have
waves
Easily absorbed and re-
Used in remote controls,
surveillance, therapy of
muscles
Sources: Humans, the
sun
MICROWAVES

1 mm-1 dm in length
Absorbed by water
molecules how
microwave ovens heat
food
Used in
telecommunications and
power transmission
Sources: electric circuits,
many stars, microwave
ovens
10 cm- 100,000+m in
length
Only cosmic waves the
reach the surface of
the Earth
Cause of noise
Divided into smaller
frequency dependent
groups called bands
Used
for communications
Sources: transmitters
and sparks from
motors
Polarization
Electric and magnetic fields which make
up wave have preferred direction
Can be horizontal, vertical, circular, or
elliptical
Polarization
y
Electromagnetic Wave Electric Field
Wave
Magnetic Field

y y

x x E
z z