A spectrum of waves
White light can be split up into many colours by using a prism. This visible light is just part of the whole spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Not all types of electromagnetic radiation are visible. Each type has a different wavelength and a different use in everyday life. Electromagnetic radiation can be used for wireless communications.
White light can be split up using a prism to form a spectrum. A prism is a block of glass with a triangular cross-section. The light waves are refracted as they enter and leave the prism. The shorter the wavelength of the light, the more it is refracted. As a result, red light is refracted the least and violet light is refracted the most, causing the coloured light to spread out to form a spectrum.
Visible light is just one type of electromagnetic radiation. There are various types of electromagnetic radiation, some with longer wavelengths than visible light and some with shorter wavelengths than visible light.
Electromagnetic waves form a continuous spectrum. You should know the order of electromagnetic waves in the spectrum (see below).
|Energy||Frequency||Wavelength||Type of electromagnetic radiation||Uses|
|Lowest||Lowest||Longest||Radio waves||Television signals|
|Microwaves||Cooking, mobile phones|
|Infrared||Optical fibre communication|
|Ultraviolet||Detecting forged bank notes|
|X-rays||Medical images of bones|
|Highest||Highest||Shortest||Gamma radiation||Killing cancer cells|
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