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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

electromagnetic waves and radio frequency waves

Electromagnetic spectrum

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The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation.[1] The "electromagnetic spectrum" of an object is the characteristic distribution of electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by that particular object.

The electromagnetic spectrum extends from below frequencies used for modern radio to gamma radiation at the short-wavelength end, covering wavelengths from thousands of kilometers down to a fraction of the size of an atom. The long wavelength limit is the size of the universe itself, while it is thought that the short wavelength limit is in the vicinity of the Planck length, although in principle the spectrum is infinite and continuous.

Although some radiations are marked as N for no in the diagram, some waves do in fact penetrate the atmosphere, although extremely minimally compared to the other radiations
γ= Gamma rays MIR= Mid infrared HF= High freq.
HX= Hard X-Rays FIR= Far infrared MF= Medium freq.
SX= Soft X-Rays Radio waves LF= Low freq.
EUV= Extreme ultraviolet EHF= Extremely high freq. VLF= Very low freq.
NUV= Near ultraviolet SHF= Super high freq. VF/ULF= Voice freq.
Visible light UHF= Ultra high freq. SLF= Super low freq.
NIR= Near Infrared VHF= Very high freq. ELF= Extremely low freq.





Radio waves

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Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Naturally-occurring radio waves are produced by lightning, or by astronomical objects. Artificially-generated radio waves are used for fixed and mobile radio communication, broadcasting, radar and other navigation systems, satellite communication, computer networks and innumerable other applications. Different frequencies of radio waves have different propagation characteristics in the Earth's atmosphere; long waves may cover a part of the Earth very consistently, shorter waves can reflect off the ionosphere and travel around the world, and much shorter wavelengths bend or reflect very little and travel on a line of sight.

Diagram of the electric (E) and magnetic (H) fields of Radio Waves emanating from a grounded radio transmitting antenna (small dark vertical line in the center). The E and H fields are perpendicular as implied by the phase diagram in the lower right.




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