Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum describes the detectable and measurable wavelengths (lambda in m) and frequencies (in Hz) that occur in nature and classifies radiation according to wavelength into types of radiation ranging from gamma radiation to low frequency.

The division into different ranges of electromagnetic radiation serves to visualize, describe and compare their different properties and effects on our environment. One possible type of radiation is visible light, which can be divided into the color spectrum. However, this part, which is visible to the human eye, is only a small part that occurs in nature. The wavelength of visible light is about the size of a cell (1nm = 10-9m = 0.000 000 001m).

On the common scale of the electromagnetic spectrum, on the left is the range of long-wave UV radiation (10-10m), which contains higher energies. We know this range of the electromagnetic spectrum mainly from solar radiation. An even higher energy than UV radiation is contained in X-rays and gamma radiation, which are used in medicine for X-ray images and radiation therapy for cancer.

In the middle range of the electromagnetic spectrum is the only range visible to the human eye. This acts as the light spectrum.

Among the more curvilinear radiations with low energy, which are located on the scale to the right of the visible range, is infrared radiation. It is also called thermal radiation, because every object and living being mainly emits this radiation. The wavelength here is about the size of a nail tip (10-5m). Infrared radiation is followed by microwave radiation, radio waves and low frequency radiation.