For an explanation, see the main splats page
SPLATS about wave properties
The principles of wave properties
- Electromagnetic radiation involves the oscillation of electric and magnetic fields at the same time. This principle applies to all forms of radiation.
- When waves travel back and forth in a medium, they form a standing wave as a result of interference effects between the two halves of the wave.
- Waves interact through interference, and this interference can result in waves either cancelling each other out or joining to make a bigger wave.
- Diffraction is an interference effect seen when waves encounter a regular array. Diffraction demonstrates the wave-like nature of whatever is diffracted.
- When light passes through a grating, it behaves as a wave. Longer wavelength light diffracts through a greater angle than shorter wavelength light.
- In 1912, Max von Laue began investigating the use of a crystal of zinc sulfide to diffract X-rays, thus revealing any regular, repeated structure it might have.
- X-ray crystallography depends on the analysis of diffraction effects from arrays of atoms in a crystal acting like the lines in a diffraction grating.
- Clinton Davisson demonstrated electron diffraction, showing that electrons can sometimes be treated as waves. This property is used in the electron microscope.
- A wave may be represented as a longitudinal wave or as a transverse wave, depending on which is most convenient for understanding it or making predictions.
- Light is most easily considered as a wave, but it arrives in small packets known as photons. There is no single simple view fitting all the observed facts.
- Light can be thought of as a wave or as a particle, depending on what we look for: this is called wave-particle duality. Sometimes we speak of 'wavicles'.
- Discussing 'Newton's rings', Thomas Young pointed out that light appeared to be capable of destructively interfering with itself, clearly a wave phenomenon.
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