Energy of an electromagnetic wave

by anorred
Tags: electromagnetic, energy, frequency, waves
anorred is offline
Mar27-13, 01:14 PM
P: 50
So I've seen this equation used to calculate the energy associated with an electromagnetic wave:


E is energy, h is a constant, and f is frequency. Therefore, the energy is related to frequency alone. However, why wouldn't the amplitude of that wave have an effect on the energy? I don't get it. If you have an extremely intense radio wave that requires much more energy to generate than waves such as your cell phone, why doesn't this equation show the effect of amplitude?
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AkInfinity is offline
Mar27-13, 01:48 PM
P: 33
Because when you take amplitude into account is like adding E=hf. E is the energy in one "em" wave. So with higher amplitude you are having more photons or "em" wave quanta which adds up.
anorred is offline
Mar27-13, 02:23 PM
P: 50
Do you know exactly how they add up?

Drakkith is offline
Mar27-13, 04:16 PM
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Energy of an electromagnetic wave

They add linearly. Ten times as many photons is ten times as much energy. Is that what you were asking?
anorred is offline
Mar27-13, 10:51 PM
P: 50
Yes, that was what I was asking.. in a way. If you had an amplitude that's 10x the magnitude of one photon.. would you add ten photons? I'm a noob.
pumila is offline
Apr9-13, 03:44 AM
P: 114
The energy in an electromagnetic field is proportional to the square of the field strength (amplitude). So for coherent light, doubling the amplitude takes four times the energy and four times the number of photons, all else being equal. The rules for incoherent light are different, doubling the mean amplitude then takes just double the energy, and we use time-average values.

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