122

Your iPhone is a pretty good grating. I just did a simple experiment with an iPhone, a green laser pointer and a sheet of graph paper. This was the result: The display of the iPhone 6 has a resolution of 326 ppi - meaning we have a "grating spacing" of 25.4/326=0.0779 mm. Different models have different resolutions - make sure you find out what your phone ...


113

Something special about the visible range is that water has low absorption in this range. It’s a rather sharp dip near the visible region. Since we know that life began in water, the beings that were receptive to these wavelengths had a significant advantage over the others. Thus natural selection would have favoured these life forms over the others. This ...


82

This is a really interesting question. It turns out that your body is reasonably conductive (think salt water, more on that in the answer to this question), and that it can couple to RF sources capacitively. Referring to the Wikipedia article on keyless entry systems; they typically operate at an RF frequency of $315\text{ MHz}$, the wavelength of which is ...


55

Some areas of physics are counter-intuitive. For them, your everyday experience is a poor guide to how the universe really works. This is one of those areas. Photons have no mass. They all have the same speed. Yet they have energy and momentum, and it isn't the same for all photons. If you are used to $p = mv$, this doesn't make sense. The explanation is ...


52

Why will a blue ray bend lesser than a red ray through a slit of the size a little bigger than the wavelength of the blue ray? Don't think of bending. Think of diffraction like this: if you have a plane wave incident on a slit, then you can think about the space in the slit as being a line of infinitely many point sources that radiate in phase. If you are ...


44

Colour is defined by the eye, and only indirectly from physical properties like wavelength and frequency. Since this interaction happens in a medium of fixed index of refraction (the vitreous humour of your eye), the frequency/wavelength relation inside your eye is fixed. Outside your eye, the frequency stays constant, and the wavelength changes according ...


37

As promised in the comments to my answer, I went out and measured the effect in a number of different configurations (a couple of days later than promised :-)). For those of you who just want the conclusions, here they are: The remote seems to work better when held to the head though the improvement isn't as marked as one might have expected from a google ...


37

In liquids and solids the difference in energy between energy levels becomes very small, due to the electron clouds of several atoms bein in very close proximity of one another. These similar energy levels will form 'bands' of indistinguishable spectral lines. In gases however, atoms will be spaced loosely enough such that the interaction between atoms ...


35

For almost all detectors, it is actually the energy of the photon that is the attribute that is detected and the energy is not changed by a refractive medium. So the "color" is unchanged by the medium...


34

The range of visible light wavelengths has a special property that makes it the commonly used range for all life forms on the Earth: It is the range of electromagnetic wavelengths that are short enough to be conveniently handled by cell sized detectors and that can pass through the atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere is not transparent at all wavelengths, ...


28

(This is an intuitive explanation on my part, it may or may not be correct) Symbols used: $\lambda$ is wavelength, $\nu$ is frequency, $c,v$ are speeds of light in vacuum and in the medium. Alright. First, we can look at just frequency and determine if frequency should change on passing through a medium. Frequency can't change Now, let's take a glass-...


27

As FrankH said, it's actually energy that determines color. The reason, in summary, is that color is a psychological phenomenon that the brain constructs based on the signals it receives from cone cells on the eye's retina. Those signals, in turn, are generated when photons interact with proteins called photopsins. The proteins have different energy levels ...


24

Yes, there are an uncountable infinity of possible wavelengths of light. In general the frequency spectrum for Electromagnetic (e.g light, radio, etc) is continuous and thus between any two frequencies there are an uncountable infinity of possible frequencies (just as there are an uncountable number of numbers between 1 and 2). Two things to consider in ...


23

is there anything special about visible light other than the fact that we use it to see colors? We can see light with wavelengths from $390$ to $650$ nm because in our eyes we have photoreceptor cells which are sensitive only for these wavelengths. If the photoreceptor cells were sensitive to other wavelengths, then we would be able to see those. Does ...


21

The speed of light in vacuum is constant and does not depend on characteristics of the wave (e.g. its frequency, polarization, etc). In other words, in vacuum blue and red colored light travel at the same speed c. The propagation of light in a medium involves complex interactions between the wave and the material through which it travels. This makes the ...


21

It is an ångström, a unit of length commonly used in chemistry to measure things like atomic radii and bond lengths. Although not an official SI unit, it has a simple relationship to the metric units of length: $$1\:\mathrm{ångström} = 1\:\mathrm{Å} = 10^{−10}\:\mathrm{m} = 0.1\:\mathrm{nm} = 100\:\mathrm{pm}.$$


21

I will assume you familiar with the properties of waves such as interference and diffraction. Consider an electron orbiting the nucleus. By de Broglie's hypothesis, we would consider it to be a wave orbiting around the nucleus. Now, once the electron wave orbits once, the second time it would interfere with the first wave. For the system to be stable, that ...


21

You see line spectra usually only in gases because there the interaction between the atoms can be neglected. In gases with high pressures you get the so-called collision broadening of the lines which eventually become bands. Similarly, in liquids and solid the atoms are so close that the interaction between them leads to the discrete spectral lines becoming ...


21

Snell's law tells us that the angle of refraction depends on the index of refraction, $n_1 \sin{\alpha_1} = n_2 \sin{\alpha_2}$. However, the question remains, why $n_{\text{blue}} > n_{\text{red}}$. In order to address this, we need a model for the refractive index. The refractive index $n$ of a material is related to the atomic transitions of the ...


20

What you have there isn't actually de Broglie's equation for wavelength. The equation you should be using is $$\lambda = \frac{h}{p}$$ And although photons have zero mass, they do have nonzero momentum $p = E/c$. So the wavelength relation works for photons too, you just have to use their momentum. As a side effect you can derive that $\lambda = hc/E$ for ...


19

A sine wave doesn't necessarily have an intrinsic "starting point", you usually can draw its curve starting at any phase and call the corresponding point the beginning of the cycle: Quoting Wikipedia: Wavelength λ, can be measured between any two corresponding points on a waveform and Wavelength of a sine wave, λ, can be measured between any two ...


18

It is both as both lengths are the same. It doesn't matter which point you start measuring from - as long as you measure it to the same point in the next cycle. Obviously it's easier to choose starting points where you can easily tell where it is in the next cycle $($that is when $y=0$ or at the highest/lowest point in the wave$)$.


18

Frequency. As you mentioned, wavelength changes in different mediums, but frequency doesn’t. If you look at a red ball underwater, it still looks red, even though the wavelength of the light is quite different.


17

Corresponding wavelength is 22.11 meters long, but we want also to emit our EM waves into the environment. This means if we get a nice half-wave dipole antenna we would need it about 11 meters in length, $\lambda/2$. Which is quite large for mobile device. Ok, lets reduce size by using quarter-wave antenna as in WiFi, based on ideas of quarter-wave ...


17

Formally there are an infinite number of different wavelenghts. However, any given physical system can only be found in a finite number of distinct physical states. To create a light source with a wavelength $\lambda$ that is well defined up to some resolution $\delta\lambda$, requires observing it within a system of size of the order of $\lambda^2/\delta\...


17

Nothing actually. It was quite a wild guess by Bohr and supplied him with the spectrum of hydrogen. Pretty good guess indeed.


17

Like electromagnetic waves, gravitational waves can in principle have any wavelength. They obey the usual relationship $v = \lambda f$ between the wave's speed $v$, wavelength $\lambda$, and frequency $f$. Einstein's theory predicts (and recent observations have confirmed) that the speed of gravitational waves is $v = c$, regardless of their frequency. ...


16

I'll try to point by point address the question. So we have $E(\omega)$ the energy radiated at a given frequency. Actually, no, we have an energy per unit frequency. It's like a density. For a mass density $\rho$ you have a mass per unit volume, and the density can vary from place to place, so to get the total mass you break up space into a bunch of ...


16

De Broglie suggested the existence of matter waves and gave a relation between their wavelength and momentum. $\lambda=\frac{h}{p}$ , He said that this relation is completely general. It can be applied to matter particles and even photons. Bohr, in his atomic model, considered an electron to be in form of a standing electron wave and if this wave is to ...


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