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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67
votes
8answers
80k 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: ...
56
votes
3answers
7k 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?
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 energy?...
31
votes
4answers
5k views

Is there an infinite amount of wavelengths of light? Is the EM spectrum continuous?

The electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum of wavelengths of light, and we have labels for some ranges of these and numerical measurements for many. Question: Is the EM spectrum continuous such that ...
28
votes
10answers
32k 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 ...
28
votes
9answers
29k 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 ...
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 ...
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?
14
votes
2answers
27k 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
100k 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?
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 ...
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 plates....
11
votes
2answers
4k 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: ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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?
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: ...
9
votes
2answers
376 views

Wavelength used in manufacturing of integrated circuits (IC)

How is it that the silicon ICs industry can burn ICs of a dozen nanometers using photolytography with UV laser of about 193 nanometers? Since the gates are smaller than the wavelength, for example 22&...
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
250 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
25k 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?
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 $2\times10^8~\mathrm{m}~\...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How do we know the wavelength of colours?

Every site and video I have been on doesn't address it directly.specifically I want to know what is are the experiments we derive these wavelengths from and how do we calculate the wavelengths inspite ...
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 ($\...
8
votes
4answers
711 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 one)...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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
4answers
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?
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
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 "intensity"...
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
10k 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
9answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
418 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 p=\...
5
votes
2answers
9k 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
255 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
3answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
47 views

How was Fizeau able to measure interference fringes in his experiment of 1851?

I am wondering how Fizeau, in the famous experiment of 1851, was able to measure changes in the interference fringes given that he used Sun light. Sun light consists of all kinds of wave lengths and ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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
4answers
154 views

How do light waves get their size?

An atom or (small) molecule has the size of about 100pm. Elektromagnetic waves range from about 0.1nm up to 1 km. The most common way waves (like light) are caused by 'jumping' electrons to another ...
4
votes
1answer
170 views

Why “colours” of light are given in wavelength not frequency?

If I understand correctly, when a beam of (monochromatic) light passes through media of different refractive indices, its wavelength changes but frequency remains constant. Why, then, are colours of ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

Beating the Diffraction Limit with NSOM

I am trying to understand exactly why we can beat the diffraction limit when using near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM). For those who aren't familiar with NSOM, check out this article: ...
4
votes
2answers
863 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
167 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
80 views

Where does the energy of a photon trying to escape a black hole go?

I've heard "light cannot escape a black hole" explained several ways. One is that if a photon inside the event horizon tries to escape a black hole it loses energy to gravity. As it loses energy its ...
3
votes
3answers
110 views

Can particles at rest have wave nature?

Can particles have wave nature even when they are at rest? I think this is possible due to the formation of standing waves
3
votes
2answers
286 views

Why does the length of a wind instrument affect it's pitch?

I understand how length of a string on any string instrument affects it's pitch, but I don't understand how a short wind instrument produces a high pitch.
3
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
3k 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
470 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 ...