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Summarizing Production of Electromagnetic Waves

Production of Electromagnetic Waves Summary

  • Electromagnetic waves are created by oscillating charges (which radiate whenever accelerated) and have the same frequency as the oscillation.
  • Since the electric and magnetic fields in most electromagnetic waves are perpendicular to the direction in which the wave moves, it is ordinarily a transverse wave.
  • The strengths of the electric and magnetic parts of the wave are related by


    which implies that the magnetic field \(B\) is very weak relative to the electric field \(E\).


electric field

a vector quantity (E); the lines of electric force per unit charge, moving radially outward from a positive charge and in toward a negative charge

electric field strength

the magnitude of the electric field, denoted E-field

magnetic field

a vector quantity (B); can be used to determine the magnetic force on a moving charged particle

magnetic field strength

the magnitude of the magnetic field, denoted B-field

transverse wave

a wave, such as an electromagnetic wave, which oscillates perpendicular to the axis along the line of travel

standing wave

a wave that oscillates in place, with nodes where no motion happens


the distance from one peak to the next in a wave


the height, or magnitude, of an electromagnetic wave


the number of complete wave cycles (up-down-up) passing a given point within one second (cycles/second)


a system that displays enhanced oscillation when subjected to a periodic disturbance of the same frequency as its natural frequency


to fluctuate back and forth in a steady beat

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