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905-F: Classify Electromagnetic Wave by Wavelength 4: Metric Units

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905-F: Classify Electromagnetic Wave by Wavelength 4: Metric Units

BACK to Ladder The Electromagnetic Spectrum: Quantitative

In the previous pod you learned to classify every electromagnetic wave into one of seven categories based upon its wavelength. This required using a wide range of values in scientific notation. In this pod, you will learn a slight variation on that activity. Many scientists don't like using scientific notation because it simply looks awkward and is difficult to view intuitively. They would prefer to use metric prefixes to represent different orders of magnitudes, because they appear eloquent and elegant. In this pod, we will look at values of wavelength written in metric prefixes and classify them into seven electromagnetic waves. It may be helpful to review converting metric units to scientific notation.

Type of Wave
Wavelength
Radio Wave
greater than 1 meter
Microwave
between 1 millimeter and 1 meter
Infrared Light
between 700 nanometers and 1 millimeter
Visible Light
between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers
Ultraviolet Light
between 10 nanometers and 400 nanometers
X-ray
between 1 picometer and 10 nanometers
Gamma Ray
less than 1 picometer

For each of the following wavelengths, first convert them into meters in scientific notation, then classify each wave into one of the seven electromagnetic waves listed in the table above.

  1. \( \lambda = 500 \text{ nanometers} \)
  2. \( \lambda = 28 \text{ micrometers} \)
  3. \( \lambda = 19 \text{ picometers} \)
  4. \( \lambda = 0.8 \text{ picometers} \)
  5. \( \lambda = 0.8 \text{ meters} \)
  6. \( \lambda = 12 \text{ centimeters} \)
  7. \( \lambda = 300 \text{ micrometers} \)
  8. \( \lambda = 200 \text{ nanometers} \)
  9. \( \lambda = 500 \text{ picometers} \)

The Full Spectrum

As we learned in a previous pod, the entire electromagnetic spectrum consists not of seven types of waves, but 12. There are the six invisible electromagnetic waves: radio, micro, infrared, ultraviolet, X-Ray, and gamma ray. In the middle of them, with wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers is visible light, which can be broken into six colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Any photon has a wavelength that will classify it into one of these twelve waves.

Type of Wave
Wavelength
Radio Wave
greater than 1 meter
Microwave
between 1 millimeter and 1 meter
Infrared Light
between 700 nanometers and 1 millimeter

Visible Light

Red
between 635 nanometers and 700 nanometers
Orange
between 590 nanometers and 635 nanometers
Yellow
between 560 nanometers and 590 nanometers
Green
between 520 nanometers and 560 nanometers
Blue
between 450 nanometers and 520 nanometers
Violet
between 400 nanometers and 450 nanometers
Ultraviolet Light
between 10 nanometers and 400 nanometers
X-ray
between 1 picometer and 10 nanometers
Gamma Ray
less than 1 picometer

For each wave of a particular wavelength, determine which type of electromagnetic wave it is. If the light is visible light, determine its color.

  1. \( \lambda = 3 \text{ millimeters} \)
  2. \( \lambda = 3 \text{ picometers} \)
  3. \( \lambda = 3 \text{ femtometers} \)
  4. \( \lambda = 200 \text{ nanometers} \)
  5. \( \lambda = 610 \text{ nanometers} \)
  6. \( \lambda = 0.6 \text{ picometers} \)
  7. \( \lambda = 1.5 \text{ meters} \)
  8. \( \lambda = 19 \text{ micrometers} \)
  9. \( \lambda = 565 \text{ nanometers} \)
  10. \( \lambda = 22 \text{ centimeters} \)
  11. \( \lambda = 420 \text{ nanometers} \)
  12. \( \lambda = 730 \text{ nanometers} \)
  13. \( \lambda = 7 \text{ nanometers} \)
  14. \( \lambda = 33 \text{ nanometers} \)

    BACK to Ladder The Electromagnetic Spectrum: Quantitative

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