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51
votes
8answers
15k views

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

I was trying to unlock my car, 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: Walked away from ...
21
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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?
11
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
1k 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
3answers
1k views

Is there a light source that emits all wavelengths of visible light at the same time?

Many light sources like LEDs and lasers only emit a single wavelength of light. Is there a light source that emits all wavelengths of visible light at the same time?
8
votes
2answers
3k 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: ...
8
votes
3answers
455 views

Why do rainbows have distinct colors?

When I searched on the Internet for the reason of formation of rainbows, I got many explanations like this one & this. All the explanations consider only one spherical water droplet (like this ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the minimum wavelength of electromangetic 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: ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
318 views

What {R,G,B} values would represent a 445nm monochrome lightsource color on a computer monitor?

Is it possible to answer my question definitely (assuming the monitor is perfect)? What would be the formula for calculating RGB values for a visible monochrome light with given wavelength?
7
votes
3answers
42k 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?
7
votes
1answer
224 views

Are small speakers inherently limited to higher frequencies?

I am hoping to build a subwoofer using multiple smaller speakers (165mm) instead of a single larger speaker (380mm). My theory is that the displaced air volume is what matters, not the individual ...
6
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
4k 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
547 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
1answer
828 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What's the difference between dim and bright light?

When comparing two light sources, for example, a light bulb at 20W and a light bulb at 100W, what is it about the incoming light that makes the latter look brighter than the former? Are there ...
5
votes
1answer
695 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
229 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the symbol Å?

I saw this symbol like: $$\lambda=3000\overset{\circ}{\text{A}}$$ and I don't know what this means. Is it a frequency? (since $\lambda$ is usually used for frequency)
4
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
111 views

Diffraction pattern when wavelength tends to zero

While studying about Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction, I came across a statement which says that the fringes disappears and the image would take on the limiting shape of the aperture when wavelength ...
3
votes
3answers
910 views

Why aren't the graphs for black body radiation straight lines?

We know that a wave which has greater frequency will have low wavelength and high energy. So, by decreasing the wavelength, the frequency and consequently energy (intensity) of that wave will increase ...
3
votes
3answers
290 views

What if $\gamma$-rays in Electron microscope?

I was referring Electron microscopes and read that the electrons have wavelength way less than that of visible light. But, the question I can't find an answer was that, If gamma radiation has the ...
3
votes
2answers
252 views

Is the frequency/wavelength of light modified when multiple light sources are combined?

Let's say I light a wall with two spotlights: One red and one green one. Where they overlap, I'll see a yellow area at the wall. My question is, whether this is caused by an modification of the ...
3
votes
3answers
531 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
360 views

Magnetron limits

What are the practical limits on generated wavelength in a Magnetron? We know that Magnetrons could be used efficiently for generating microwaves for water heating, or for radar applications, but ...
3
votes
2answers
776 views

How does the wavelength change in relativistic limit?

In the text, it reads that the momentum of a particle will change if it is moving at speed close to light speed. In the general case, the wavelength is given as $$ \lambda = \frac{h}{p} $$ and $$p ...
3
votes
1answer
402 views

Bragg condition for transmission: Why is the full diffracted angle Two times Theta? Or isn't it?

On a Bragg reflection with incomming angle Theta the total diffraction angle of the incomming wave is 2*Theta, of course. But I have Bragg transmission with electrons on a graphite crystal ...
3
votes
0answers
80 views

Optics: finding total power of a syste, including wavelength

Specifically I need to create an ABCD matrix given 2 radii of curvatures, the thickness of the lens, type of glass (BK7) and a given wavelength. I will have to figure this out eventually, so help ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Is all kind of light same speed?

Is there any speed different between blue or red color? Is there speed different? or there are same speed?
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
337 views

Why doesn't De Broglie's wave equation work for photons?

Well, as I am learning about quantum physics, one of the first topics I came across was De Broglie's wave equation. $$\frac{h}{mc} = \lambda$$ As is obvious, it relates the wavelength to the mass of ...
2
votes
3answers
408 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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
359 views

Generated wavelength of free electron laser

Could you please help me understand how one can measure output frequency of free electron laser (provided that we know size of magnetic domains and electron energy)? This should be a function of ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

Why is water blue (on a quantum level)

OK, lets formulate it differently and say water works as a blue passing / red restricting filter. It is actually observable. Just do a dive in a swimming pool with white light (maybe even at night) ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Holograms? Sci Fi or future fact?

Based on how light behaves when it passes through mediums, i.e. the wavelength of light changes when it passes through mediums of different refractive indexes, wouldn't it be possible to convert ...
2
votes
1answer
917 views

Laser Coherence Length/Time

Scenario: Imagine a collimated beam of white light falling on one refracting face of a prism. Let the light emerging from the second face be focused by a lens onto a screen. Suppose there is linear ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

Color in Different media

When a light wave passes from one medium to other, the wavelength of the light wave changes and the frequency remains constant. If then color of the light waves depends on changing wavelength or ...
2
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
238 views

Understanding de Broglie Wavelengths

I understand the derivation and calculation of de Broglie wavelengths, but what exactly does the wave of a particle represent? What does the wavelength of a particle mean? I'm assuming it's not the ...
2
votes
0answers
439 views

How does a Fresnel rhomb work (half and quarter wave plate)?

How does a Fresnel rhomb work (half and quarter wave plate)? I am aware of birefringence, which creates a phase shift of $\Delta\phi=\dfrac{2\pi\Delta nL}{\lambda_0}$. But this doesn't explain how a ...
1
vote
2answers
5k 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 ...