# Light Wavelengths: Causes & Frequency Explained

• Dancingkitty
In summary, the difference in wavelengths of light is caused by the relationship between frequency and wavelength, where changing the frequency results in a change in wavelength. This is because shorter periods of a wave correspond to shorter wavelengths. In practice, changing the energy of the light also affects the frequency and wavelength, as more energetic photons have shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies. This concept intuitively aligns with the idea that more energy leads to faster movement, resulting in shorter periods and wavelengths.
Dancingkitty
What causes the difference in wavelengths of light? Is it frequency or something?

Well mathematically changing the frequency will change the wavelength, the two are inversely related which makes sense:

If we increase a frequency, then we've shortened the period of a wave which is a shortening of the wavelength

If we decrease a frequency then we've increased the period of a wave which is a lengthening of the wavelength.

However in practice we would change a frequency/wavelength by changing the energy of the light. More energetic photons (light) means a shorter wavelength (and conversely larger frequency).

This intuitively kind of makes sense. If something is more energetic it will "move" faster, in the case of light this means it will have a shorter period which implies a shorter wavelength.

By the way, welcome to PF!

o ok that makes a lot of sense, thanks!

## 1. What is a light wavelength?

A light wavelength refers to the distance between two consecutive peaks or troughs of a light wave. It is a measure of the length of a single cycle of the wave and is typically measured in nanometers (nm).

## 2. How is the frequency of light wavelengths determined?

The frequency of light wavelengths is determined by the number of waves that pass a certain point in one second. This is measured in hertz (Hz), with one hertz being equal to one cycle per second.

## 3. What causes different light wavelengths?

Light wavelengths are caused by the vibrations of electric and magnetic fields. These vibrations create electromagnetic waves, which travel through space at the speed of light and have different wavelengths depending on their frequency.

## 4. How do different light wavelengths affect our perception of color?

Different light wavelengths are responsible for our perception of color. The visible light spectrum ranges from red (longer wavelengths) to violet (shorter wavelengths), and each color we see corresponds to a specific wavelength of light.

## 5. Can light wavelengths be harmful to humans?

Some light wavelengths, such as ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR), can be harmful to humans in high doses. UV rays can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer, while IR radiation can cause burns and damage to the eyes. It is important to protect ourselves from these harmful wavelengths, such as by wearing sunscreen and using protective eyewear.

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