Clarification of White Light/Superposition

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In summary, the conversation discusses the nature of white light and its wavelength. It is mentioned that white light is a superposition of seven different wavelengths, but the concept of wavelength is only meaningful for single frequencies. The light from the sun contains an infinite number of wavelengths, but the human eye only needs three frequencies to perceive it as white light. The conversation concludes by mentioning that white light is typically classified based on an idealized black body spectrum of wavelength intensities for a given temperature, such as 6500Kelvin for "daylight".
  • #1
FeDeX_LaTeX
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Hello;

White light is a superposition of seven different wavelengths of light, correct?

If this is true, does white light have a definite wavelength, even if it is a superposition of seven different wavelengths? Or does the wavelength of white light periodically change?

Thanks.
 
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  • #2
wavelength is only meaningful for single frequencies.

light from the sun is made a a virtually infinite number of wavelengths.

the eye has 3 types of receptors so you only need 3 frequencies to make what appears to us as white light.
 
  • #3
"White" light is typically classified based on an idealized black body spectrum of wavelength intensities for a given temperature, in Kelvin. For example, photographers talk of 6500Kelvin as 'daylight'.
 
  • #4
Thanks, that clarifies it.
 
  • #5


Hello,

Yes, you are correct. White light is a superposition of seven different wavelengths of light, also known as the visible spectrum. This includes red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. Each of these colors has a specific wavelength, ranging from approximately 400 nanometers for violet to 700 nanometers for red. When these wavelengths are combined, they create the sensation of white light to the human eye.

However, it is important to note that white light does not have a single, definitive wavelength. It is a combination of multiple wavelengths, and therefore does not have a specific wavelength of its own. The individual wavelengths of the visible spectrum that make up white light do not change periodically. They remain constant and are always present in white light.

I hope this helps clarify your understanding of white light and superposition. Let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you.
 

Related to Clarification of White Light/Superposition

What is white light?

White light is a combination of all the visible wavelengths of light, resulting in a colorless light. It is often referred to as "pure" or "natural" light.

How is white light produced?

White light can be produced by a variety of sources, such as the sun, incandescent light bulbs, and fluorescent lights. These sources emit a broad range of wavelengths that combine to form white light.

What is superposition of light?

Superposition of light refers to the phenomenon where multiple light waves overlap and combine to form a new wave. This can result in a variety of effects, such as interference patterns or the perception of different colors.

Can white light be split into its component colors?

Yes, white light can be split into its component colors through a process called dispersion. This can be achieved using a prism or diffraction grating, which separate the different wavelengths of light.

Why is understanding white light and superposition important in science?

Understanding white light and superposition is important in many areas of science, such as optics, astronomy, and color theory. It allows us to understand how light behaves and how we perceive color, and has practical applications in fields such as photography and laser technology.

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