The wavelength of a sinusoidal wave is the spatial period of the wave—the distance over which the wave's shape repeats, and the inverse of the spatial frequency or wavenumber. Determined by considering the distance between consecutive corresponding points of the same phase, such as crests. Use for ...

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27
votes
10answers
30k views

What determines color — wavelength or frequency?

What determines the color of light -- is it the wavelength of the light or the frequency? (i.e. If you put light through a medium other than air, in order to keep its color the same, which one would ...
12
votes
3answers
95k views

Why does wavelength change as light enters a different medium?

When light waves enter a medium of higher refractive index than the previous, why is it that: Its wavelength decreases? The frequency of it has to stay the same?
11
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the minimum wavelength of electromagnetic radiation?

As a first approximation, I don't see how a wavelength of less than 2 Planck distances could exist. The question is: Are there any other limits that would come into play before that? For example: ...
2
votes
2answers
370 views

How is wavelength actually related to space (/distance)?

Is a photon of 400nm in wavelength "smaller" than a photon of 1km in wavelegth?
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Does light change color on its way through a window? [duplicate]

Looking at the refractive index of glass, it's around $1.6$. Then the speed of light $x$ through light should be given by $$ 1.6 = \frac{3.0\times10^8}{x}, $$ so $x$ is about ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is air invisible?

I think that something is invisible if it's isolated particles are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Is this correct? Why is air invisible? What about other gases and fumes which are ...
34
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there any theoretical limits on the energy of a photon?

Is there any lower or upper limit on the energy of a photon? i.e. does the mathematical framework we currently use for Quantum Mechanics blow up when a photon surpasses a certain upper limit of ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

Frequency of the sound when blowing in a bottle

I'm sure you have tried sometime to make a sound by blowing in an empty bottle. Of course, the tone/frequency of the sound modifies if the bottle changes its shape, volume, etc. I am interested in ...
8
votes
6answers
23k views

Is all kind of light same speed?

Is there any speed difference between blue or red light? Is there ever a speed difference? Or does all types of light move at the same speed?
3
votes
4answers
612 views

What was the motivation behind suggesting the trichromatic theory of vision?

Background In this thread, I asked whether it is true that the colors red, green and blue, through additive mixture, can make up any color. Turns out they can't. However, when reading about the ...
5
votes
9answers
5k views

Why do we think of light as a wave?

I've read that light travels in a straight line and has a wavelength of 400nm to 700nm. But I don't understand why does it have a wavelength and what creates its wavelength? I agree with the concept ...
64
votes
8answers
74k views

Why does a remote car key work when held to your head/body?

I was trying to unlock my car with a keyfob, but I was out of range. A friend of mine said that I have to hold the transmitter next to my head. It worked, so I tried the following later that day: ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

De Broglie wavelength, frequency and velocity - interpretation

Two fundamental equations regarding wave-particle duality are: $$ \lambda = \frac{h}{p}, \\ \nu = E/h .$$ We talk about de Broglie wavelength, is it meaningful to talk about de Broglie frequency ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Wavelength-dependent refractive index

I read in a book about optical fibers that the different spectral components of a light pulse transmitted in the fiber propagate with different velocities due to a wavelength dependent refractive ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Visible light spectrum to color space

I need to be able to convert an arbitrary emission spectrum in the visible spectrum range (i.e. for every wavelength between 380 and 780, I have a number between 0 and 1 that represents the ...
28
votes
9answers
25k views

Why does wavelength affect diffraction?

I have seen many questions of this type but I could nowhere find the answer to "why". I know this is a phenomenon which has been seen and discovered and we know it happens and how it happens. But my ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

Radio antennas that are much shorter than the wavelength

From my limited experience with ham radio when I was a kid, I expect transmitting and receiving antennas to have lengths that are on the same order of magnitude as the wavelength, and in fact I recall ...
6
votes
2answers
990 views

If photons move linearly, what's actually stopping them from passing through a microwave oven mesh?

So, my understanding is that the wavelength of a photon is the distance traveled in the time it takes it's magnetic field to oscillate. And it's inversely proportional to it's energy and it's ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is speed of sound really constant?

Does not speed of sound actually depend on the frequency and/or amplitude of the waves? If so, why it is constant?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Matter waves and de Broglie wave length

The wavelength of a particle of momentum p is calculated using De Broglie relation. The de Broglie relation was postulated for what is called a matter waves. Now according to the statistical ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

What is a wavelength of an EM wave physically?

This might be a silly question given I am a physics undergrad, but I was suddenly confused. Usually when EM hit a gap they diffract through the gap. But if the gap is too small, diffraction can't take ...
3
votes
3answers
875 views

Does the wavelength always decrease in a medium?

I was studying a GRE Physics Test problem where optical light with a wavelength of 500 nm travels through a gas with refractive index $n$. If we look at the equations for wave motion and index ...
56
votes
3answers
6k views

How to measure the wavelength of a laser pointer?

I'm working on something and I need to know the wavelength of the laser pointer that I'm using. Can you suggest me a way, using some optics formulae, or anything else to calculate the wavelength?
14
votes
2answers
26k views

Why is Near Field Communication (NFC) range limited to about 20cm?

Near Field Communication (NFC) operates at 13.56 MHz. Near Field is the region situated at a distance r << λ λ = c/f ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is it necessary for an object to have a bigger size than the wavelength of light in order for us to see it?

I keep hearing this rule that an object must have a bigger size than the wavelength of light in order for us to see it, and though I don't have any professional relationship with physics, I want to ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the de Broglie wavelength of a photon equal to the EM wavelength of the radiation?

Is the de Broglie (matter) wavelength $\lambda=\frac{h}{p}$ of a photon equal to the electromagnetic wavelength of the radiation? I guess yes, but how come that photons have both a matter wave and an ...
0
votes
2answers
369 views

What is the reason behind why a quantum particle cannot be at rest?

So I've seen different reasonings for this; which is correct, or are they both corollaries of each other? 1) For a particle to be at rest, we would know its momentum and therefore by Heisenberg's ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

In electromagnetic radiation, how do electrons actually “move”?

I've always pictured EM radiation as a wave, in common drawings of radiation you would see it as a wave beam and that had clouded my understanding recently. Illustration on the simplest level: ...
5
votes
2answers
353 views

Where does de Broglie wavelength $\lambda=h/p$ for massive particles come from?

I'm curious where the de Broglie relation $p=\frac{h}{\lambda}$ comes from? I know that for light (which has no rest mass), the following is true: $E=pc$ and $E=hf$ so, $$pc=hf \Rightarrow ...
5
votes
1answer
254 views

Is the number of wavelengths of light spanning a distance invariant with respect to spacetime distortion?

I was recently asked by a friend how the expansion of spacetime affects photons. I gave him what I feel is a satisfactory general response, but it got me wondering how, exactly to calculate this ...
5
votes
4answers
9k views

Light emitted by an object according to its temperature

According to this picture the light emitted by an object depends on its temperature. That makes perfect sense when we heat a metal. As its temperature raises we see it red at first, then orange, ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the frequency of light restricted?

What are the factors that limit the frequency of light? Can it have wavelengths ranging between zero and infinity?
2
votes
3answers
139 views

Is sunlight truly white?

I recently purchased a book on nuclear astrophysics, with no goal of mastering the topic but merely to read in between exams and hopefully learn something, it is revealed that the sun is composed ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does Planck's law for black body radiation have that bell-like shape?

I'm trying to understand Planck's law for the black body radiation, and it states that a black body at a certain temperature will have a maximum intensity for the emission at a certain wavelength, and ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Diffraction wavelength relationship [on hold]

This question appears somewhat similar to other questions asking about why wavelength affects diffraction (a concept which I'm still not 100% sure on...) however my query is different and not answered ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Why do we perceive a colour?

White/yellow light hits a red case, and the red color is reflected into our eyes, since other wavelengths are absorbed. My question is: since both the paint on the case and the white light have ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What causes polarised materials to change colour under stress?

Our physics teacher showed the class a really interesting demonstration. He used two polarised filters in opposite orientations, then he took some antistatic tape and stretched it under the two ...
8
votes
2answers
242 views

If photons don't “experience” time, how do they account for their gradual change in wavelength?

It is often said that photons do not experience time. From what I've read, this is because that when travelling at the speed of light, space is contracted to infinity, so while there is no time to ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do microwave ovens use radiation with such long wavelength?

According to Wikipedia: Consumer ovens usually use 2.45 gigahertz (GHz)—a wavelength of 12.2 centimetres (4.80 in). Typically, I put the dish inside the oven in its center. I suspect most ...
3
votes
3answers
590 views

Relation between wavelength and system size

We always say that when a given light wave interacts with atoms bound in a molecule, only waves with wavelength close to the inter-atomic-spacing are able to probe the system. In other context ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Some questions about car radio and cellphone antennas

1-Why the antenna of the radio of cars is located outside the car and not inside? 2-If the answer to 1 is because that cars are like Faraday cages then how come my cell phone can receive signal ...
2
votes
1answer
304 views

Physical meaning of wavelength of an EM wave

What is the physical meaning of the wavelength of light? This question has been asked before but I cannot find a satisfactory answer. Some respondents have said that the question is vague, I don't ...
2
votes
1answer
535 views

Red color has largest wavelenght and violet minimum (in the range of visible light). then why does violet light appears reddish? RED + BLUE = VIOLET [duplicate]

My question is simple. Green light is more similar to red light than violet, then why is violet reddish and green not? in the language of frequencies and wavelengths, red and violet should contrast ...
1
vote
3answers
103 views

Can speed of light be $c$ in air or other medium?

I know that the speed of light in a vacuum is $c\sim 3\ 10^8\ \mathrm{m/s}$, but I also know that speed of light in a medium (e.g., air) is less than that in vacuum. Special relativity says that ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Why does the wavelength gets shorter in the denser medium in refraction? [duplicate]

In the refraction, the wavelength gets shorter if it enters denser medium. Why is that happening? Is it just a phenomenon?
1
vote
0answers
60 views

Physical reality of calculated wavelength from the two measurable phenomena slit distance and fringes distance?

I see some difficulties in answering this question (Have we really measured the wavelength of light?) about the measurement of the light's wavelengths with double slit interference. "... we can find ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Have we really measured the wavelength of light? [duplicate]

Have we practically measured the distances between the variations of electromagnetic radiations in space in nanometers or is it just theoritical because of calculations? Also the one who have marked ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What causes an increase in sound speed in a medium?

Its an established fact that increase in the temperature causes increase in speed of sound waves but what is the property which is changed by changing temperature ? Does frequency and wavelength get ...