# Questions tagged [wavelength]

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 wavenumber, wavelength, frequency.

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### 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: ...
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### 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?
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 to study photons blow up when a photon surpasses a certain upper limit of energy? (or ...
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### Why are line spectra only seen in gases?

This might be a stupid question but I could not find the answer in my textbook or on the internet with a few searches. So I believe when an atomic electron moves down to a lower energy level it ...
9k 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 ...
166k 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?
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### 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 ...
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### Are there naturally occurring lasers?

Are there natural processes we've discovered which lead to laser light of some distinct wavelength?
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### Why does electron orbital circumference have to be in multiples of de Broglie wavelengths?

Electron orbit circumferences have to be in multiples of its de Broglie wavelength, but what do those 2 have in common?
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### 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 ...
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### The strange thing about the maximum in Planck's law

I read that it makes a difference whether you calculate $\frac{dE(\lambda) }{d \lambda}=0$ or $\frac{dE(\omega)}{d \omega}=0$ in the sense that the maximum energy density with respect to the ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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?
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### 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: ...
81k views

### Do all frequencies of light have the same speed?

Is there any speed difference between blue or red light? Is there ever a speed difference? Or do all types of light move at the same speed?
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### 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?
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### 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?
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### 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: Which ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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)...
11k 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 ...
902 views

### What is fundamental frequency, how does it make sense?

I’m currently going through harmonics, and I do not at all understand the fundamental frequency. I understand that it is the simplest vibration of a string, but I don't understand how can it have ...
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 ($\... 3answers 6k views ### Why does the frequency of a wave remain constant? They say the frequency of a wave is its fundamental character, thus remain constant throughout its propagation regardless the medium through which it travels. Could anyone explain why frequency of ... 2answers 587 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&... 4answers 3k views ### What exactly is meant by the wavelength of a photon? I've been thinking about this for quite some time, and from looking online I haven't found a satisfying answer. Lots of photons, such as visible-light photons have very small wavelength (which from ... 2answers 21k 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 people ... 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"... 3answers 4k views ### What is considered a wavelength? What is considered a wavelength? I am getting confused here. I keep seeing one wavelength is the distance when the wave repeats itself. So at the two highest points that's the wavelength. Now I'm ... 2answers 2k 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 ... 2answers 149 views ### Why does the additive color model use red, green and blue instead of yellow, green and violet? Long cone cells in the human eye are most sensitive to 570-nm wavelengths which are more like spectral "yellow" than spectral "red" and short cone cells are more to 440-nm wavelengths which are more ... 2answers 176 views ### Why are there so many Doppler Effect formulas? I was just introduced at my class, a phenomenon, known as the doppler effect, where the observed frequency increases as the source/observer approaches each other, but decreases, if they were moving ... 1answer 3k views ### Can a rainbow be seen from above I saw this picture of a "rainbow from above" Based on what I understand about rainbows, some googling and my experience chasing them, if I saw one and try to fly above it, the phenomenon will ... 2answers 2k views ### Kinetic energy as$\pi k_B T$In the derivation of the Thermal De Broglie Wavelength on Wikipedia, I come across the following: "In the nonrelativistic case the effective kinetic energy of free particles is$E_K=\pi k_B T$https:... 1answer 18k views ### Planck's Law in terms of wavelength I am drawing a blank when it comes to equation transformation. Wikipedia gives two equations for the spectral radiance of black body: First as a function of frequency$\nu$: $$I(\nu, T) = \frac{2 h \... 2answers 4k views ### Where does de Broglie wavelength \lambda=h/p for massive particles come from? I'm curious where the de Broglie relation p=\frac{h}{\lambda} comes from? I know that for light (which has no rest mass), the following is true: E=pc and E=hf so,$$pc=hf \Rightarrow p=\... 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 ... 3answers 24k 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 ... 2answers 3k 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 ...
A common identity in Quantum Mechanics is relation between the momentum of a photon and its wavelength: $$p = \frac{h}{\lambda}$$ The identity is discussed here, for example: https://en.wikipedia....