# What Are The Characteristics Of The Electromagnetic Spectrum?

The electromagnetic spectrum ranges from gamma rays (with shortest wavelength) to radio waves (with the longest wavelength). The electromagnetic spectrum is continuous, that is, there are no gaps in it and no frequencies anywhere in the range which does not exist. There is no sharp boundary between one type of waves and the next.

Some of the properties of all electromagnetic waves are as follows
- They are all transverse waves
- They travel with the same speed (speed of light) in a vacuum but slow down in other material mediums such as water and glass.
- They do not require any material medium to spread from one point to another
- They obey the laws of reflection and refractions
- They transfer energy from one place to another.
- They can be emitted and absorbed in matter.
- The wave equation is applicable to all these waves.

Their frequencies do not change when they enter from one medium (such as water) into another medium (such as air). This is because frequency depends only on the source of the wave. Only their speeds and wavelengths change from one medium to another. For example when light enters from vacuum into water, the speed decreases in water. The wavelength also decreases correspondingly when light enter from vacuum into water. Only the frequency remains unchanged.
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The electromagnetic spectrum consists of sever types of electromagnetic waves. It ranges from gamma rays to radio waves. Gamma rays have the shortest wavelength and the highest frequency whereas the radio waves have the longest wavelength and the lowest frequency. Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Other waves in the spectrum are X-Rays, Ultraviolet (UV) rays, Infra-red (IR) rays and microwaves.

All the waves in the electromagnetic spectrum have the following properties.

1. They are all transverse waves.
2. Their travel in vacuum at a speed of 300000000 meters per second. However, this speed is reduced in water, glass and other media.
3. They do not require any material medium to spread from one point to another. Hence they can travel through a vacuum.
4. They obey the laws of reflection and refraction.
5. Energy can be transferred from one place to another through electromagnetic waves.
6. They can be produced and absorbed by matter.
7. The velocity of any electromagnetic wave equals the product of the frequency and wavelength of the wave in that medium.
8. Change in media has no effect on the frequency of the wave. As mentioned above, the speed is changed due to a change in the wave length.
9. They carry no charge.
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