The Electromagnetic Spectrum

  • DOI: 10.1002/chemv.201300108
  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 01 September 2015
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: The Electromagnetic Spectrum

What do radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and X-rays have in common? They are all electromagnetic waves, electric and magnetic fields that oscillate together, perpendicular to each other. They only differ in their wavelengths: While radiowaves can have wavelengths of meters or even kilometers, X-rays reside in the 0.01 to 10 nm range.

With the shorter wavelengths come higher energies, which explains why radiowaves do not damage organisms, yet ultraviolet rays with their shorter wavelength cause sunburn, and X-rays and γ-rays can cause cancer and radiation sickness.

Electromagnetic Waves

Electromagnetic Waves


Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum includes all types of electromagnetic radiation, classified and sorted by their wavelength. The wavelength is inversely proportional to the frequency and the energy of the radiation.


The Electromagnetic Spectrum


Discovery of Electromagnetic Radiation


Discovery of Electromagnetic Radiation



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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH