Ordinary light and monochromatic light

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What are these?
My notes give definitions of the two as follows
Ordinary light: Ordinary light consists of rays of different wavelength, vibrating in all possible planes, perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.

Monochromatic light: Monochromatic light consists of rays of single wavelength, vibrating in different planes perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.
I am unable to comprehend .
 
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  • #2
Borek
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  • #3
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What about

Ordinary light: vibrating in all possible planes, perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.
vibrating in different planes perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.
 
  • #4
BvU
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You can split up ordinary light (sunlight, for example) with a prism because there are a lot of wavelengths present (a spectrum). Monochromatic light only gives one angle of deflection (the spectrum is a single line).
 
  • #5
FactChecker
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Light can have different colors (frequencies) or can vibrate in different directions (planes perpendicular to its direction of propagation). "mono" means one and "chromatic" means color, so "monochromatic" means one color. "monochromatic" does not mean that all the light is in the same plane.
 
  • #6
jtbell
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What about
That's about unpolarized versus polarized, not about whether the light is monochromatic or not.

Ordinary light is polychromatic (= not monochromatic) and unpolarized. You can also have light that is monochromatic and unpolarized, polychromatic and polarized, or monochromatic and polarized.
 
  • #7
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What does it mean to have rays of different wavelength?
 
  • #8
BvU
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Check your colour TV: there are small green, blue and red light sources. White light you get if all three light up, yellow if green and red, etc.
In short: different wavelengths = different colours
 
  • #9
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That's okay. But what I don't understand is the light composition. Is light made up of different rays or waves? Are rays and waves one and the same thing? Because as far as I know wavelength is the distance traveled by wave in Time period.
 
  • #10
blue_leaf77
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But what I don't understand is the light composition.
A light beam, or a ray of light may contain more than one wavelength. That's very common around us, in fact you can never have light which only contains a single wavelength. However monochromatic a visible light may look like to our eyes, it actually has a range of wavelengths.
I would describe the "ordinary" light you copied into your note as the natural light under which our body is exposed to every single second, this light is not monochromatic and not polarized.
 
  • #11
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Do all types of light i.e rays of light show vibration?
 
  • #12
BvU
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There's nothing that vibrates, so: no.
 
  • #13
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There's nothing that vibrates, so: no.
Ordinary light: Ordinary light consists of rays of different wavelength, vibrating in all possible planes, perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.
Monochromatic light: Monochromatic light consists of rays of single wavelength, vibrating in different planes perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.
I am confused:frown:
 
  • #14
BvU
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Mysterious, isn't it. OK, something vibrates far away -- at the origin of the light ray, so to speak.
What oscillates (yes, you could use the word vibrates instead, but it confuses some folks) are the electric and magnetic fields.
Electromagnetic radiation is propagated through the vacuum with the speed of light (Vacuum = nothing :smile:).
I liked the video here and the picture here then there is this video and the next and a near infinity of more of them.
 
  • #15
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Reading title "physics for kids!" brought a broad smile on my face
 
  • #16
BvU
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I liked it.
 
  • #17
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ok
 
  • #18
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This one is really exciting. But sadly I am not able to understand it.
 
  • #19
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Light is made up of rays and rays in turn is made up of waves. Right?
 
  • #20
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direction of propagation of light.
Is direction of propagation of light same as direction of propagation of waves the light is made up of?
 
  • #21
blue_leaf77
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Light is made up of rays and rays in turn is made up of waves. Right?
Light is a wave. For now it's best for you to cling on it. The calling of light as being made up of rays is actually not so fundamental - the use of rays to describe light propagation is useful mainly in geometrical optics, outside this field as far as I know the introduction of rays is unnecessary. Moreover, rays actually is a bit loose term in its use in some field of science and math - you can find people talking about "rays" which has nothing whatsoever to do with light when discussing the so-called Hilbert space, besides have you also ever heard of the "cosmic rays"?. Cosmic rays represent not only EM radiation but also radiation due to other particles.
Is direction of propagation of light same as direction of propagation of waves the light is made up of?
Rather than "light being made up of waves", I would say "light as a form of wave".
 
  • #22
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Is direction of propagation of light same as direction of propagation of waves the light is in form of ?
lightwave.png

If we assume the image depicts light as electromagnetic wave then does the highlighted "direction of propagation of light" in the below sentence mean vector k in the above image?
Ordinary light: Ordinary light consists of rays of different wavelength, vibrating in all possible planes, perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light.
 
  • #23
BvU
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#19: light is photons. We can describe the behaviour of light by treating them as rays (e.g. in geometrical optics), as waves (diffraction), as particles or as disturbances of fields (Quantum Field Theory). Mixing up metaphors is sometimes a bad idea, but at other times it helps to understand limitations of a paradigm.

#20 Any reason to think otherwise ? You've seen the videos.

[edit] posts crossed. Let's try to reduce the rapid firing of questions by letting answers sink in. My mistake: I responded to the alert without seeing there were more posts.
 
  • #24
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Ordinary light consists of different waves with different wavelengths . Do all waves have same direction of motion?
 
  • #25
Borek
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Ordinary light consists of different waves with different wavelengths . Do all waves have same direction of motion?
They can, they don't have to.

Light bulb sends light in all directions, laser sends light in only one direction.

You can collimate light send by the light bulb to make it go in one direction only, that's more or less how flashlights work.
 

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