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Wavelength and information.

  1. Jun 24, 2010 #1
    What kind of electromagnetic radiation can carry more information?. I mean, what is the relation between shorter or longer wavelength and the information that can go within.

    I wonder how the dynamics of this proccess works, considering that sound waves also can carry information, as well every single radiation that we can analize , but in terms of capacity or type of information... that's my point.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2010 #2


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    You can send more information per second using shorter wavelengths. But the cause is high frequency, rather than the wavelength itself.
  4. Jun 24, 2010 #3
    So Gamma radiation sends more information than radiowaves? Or there's another kind of paremeter for measuring information?
  5. Jun 24, 2010 #4


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    Per unit time, yes, you could send a lot more information in gamma than in radio. Hypothetically speaking, of course. No conceivable device can operate on required frequencies.
  6. Jun 29, 2010 #5
    That's absolutely correct.

    Expanding a bit though - think of sending Morse code (or binary information). You have to distinguish between an 'on' state and an 'off' state of a carrier wave.

    Unfortunately, you can't suddenly 'shut off' a wave, it has to be wound down over a number of cycles. Your nice sharp on/off's become smeared out wave 'packets'. (there are lots of theoretical subtleties in that statement - I'm just giving the bare-bones idea).

    You can see that each packet needs to be at least a few cycles long to be distinguishable as a packet. A higher carrier frequency allows you to squeeze more packets into a given time.
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