What are Electromagnetic Radiation Properties?

Electromagnetism is a physical phenomenon related to the theory of electrodynamics. Electric (E) and magnetic fields (B) obey the properties of superposition. Thus, a field due to an electric particle or change in an electric or magnetic field with respect to time contributes to the fields present in the same space. There are the following properties of electromagnetic radiation.

electromagnetic radiation


Properties of the electromagnetic radiation

Both are vector fields and both are perpendicular to each other this means that the angle between the electric field and magnetic field is 90 degrees. All electric and magnetic field vectors added together according to vector addition rule.

Like in optics when two coherent light waves may interact with each other and by constructive interference or destructive interference yield a resultant pattern deviating from the sum of the component pattern of the individual light waves.

The angle between electric and magnetic field in electromagnetic radiation

Angle between electric and magnetic field in electromagnetic radiation


Light is an oscillation phenomenon, it is not affected by traveling through the static magnetic or electric field in a linear medium such as a vacuum.

But in nonlinear media, like crystals, interactions can occur between static electric and magnetic fields and light, these interactions also include the Faraday Effect.

Oscillation of electromagnetic radiation


Refraction is a natural phenomenon by which a wave crossing from one medium to another having different density changes its speed and direction that depends upon the new medium in which the waves enter.


Refractive index 

The ratio of the refractive index of the medium that determines the degree of refraction, and it is summarized by Snell’s law.

Refractive index electromagnetic radiation


Light of composite wavelengths 0.4 to 0.7 um (natural sunlight), that disperses into a visible spectrum passing through a prism, because of the wavelength of light depends on the refractive index of the prism material; That’s why each component wave within the composite light is bent a different amount.


Dual nature of electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation exhibits dual nature, both wave and particle properties at the same time. Both particle and wave characteristics have been confirmed in many experiments.

Electromagnetic Radiation Properties examples

electromagnetic properties of light

Wave characteristics are more accurately measured. Electromagnetic radiation is measured over relatively large timescales and at large distances. While particle characteristics are more evident when we measuring electromagnetic waves on small timescales and distances.

For example, when electromagnetic radiation is absorbed by matter, particle-like properties will be more observed when a large number of photons in the cube form of the relevant wavelength that is much smaller than 1.

Electromagnetic waves can be polarized, reflected, refracted, diffracted or interfere with each other.

Dual nature

Some other properties of electromagnetic waves

  1. The propagation of both the materialistic medium and non-materialistic medium ( space).
  2. EM Waves propagates in space at a constant velocity and its value is 3 × 108m/s.
  3. They consist of vibrating magnetic field and electric field at a certain frequency in phase with each other; both are perpendicular to each other and also perpendicular to the direction of the wave propagation.
  4. They only posses the properties of are transverse waves
  5. It has a large range of waves that differ in the frequencies and the wavelengths. This phenomenon is called the electromagnetic spectrum. This also includes Ultraviolet waves, Radio waves, Microwaves, Infrared waves, X-rays, Visible light waves and Gamma rays.




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