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Today’s Topic

The Electromagnetic Spectrum
Electromagnetic waves consist of
alternating, mutually-supporting electric
and magnetic fields. The changing
magnetic field creates a changing
electric field which creates a changing
magnetic field.
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
An electromagnetic wave is a
transverse wave that can travel
through a vacuum (i.e. light)
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
All electromagnetic waves travel at
the same speed in a vacuum:
c = 3 x 10 8 m/s

This speed can change in different

mediums, but an electromagnetic
wave’s frequency will stay the
Light & Color
The human eye is sensitive to a narrow
band of electromagnetic radiation that lies
in the wavelength range between 400 and
700 nanometers, commonly known as the
visible light spectrum, which is the only
source of color.
Light & Color
Light & Color
The colors red, green, and blue are called
the primary colors of light because
they are fundamental to human vision.
Light & Color

Objects can only reflect colors present in

the original light source.
Light & Color
Because light is a transverse wave it
can be polarized.
Transparent materials transmit light waves and
you can see clearly through them.

Translucent materials transmit light, but you

can’t see clearly through them.

Opaque materials absorb or reflect all light that

falls on them.
Light & Color
Light is said to have a dual nature.
It behaves as both a wave and a
Light & Color
Particle Theory
Light is made of a steady stream of
particles, much like tiny droplets of water
sprayed from a garden hose nozzle.
Light & Color

Scientist discovered that, under certain

conditions, ultraviolet light could knock out
electrons from the atoms of several metals
while red light had no effect.
Light & Color
Wave Theory
Light is wave-like in nature, producing
energy that moves through space in a
way similar to the ripples spreading
across the surface of a still pond after
being disturbed by a dropped rock.
Light & Color
Constructive interference – when two waves
combine to increase in amplitude

Compare this to combining forces on an object.

Light & Color
Deconstructive interference – when two
waves combine to decrease in amplitude

Compare this to opposing forces on an object.

Light & Color
performed an
that strongly
supported the
wave theory of
Intensity Patterns
• Single Slit • Double slit