Why don't light waves move magnets?

In summary, light travels through the vacuum of space via electronic and magnetic waves. However, the magnitude of the magnetic wave is not strong enough to move or vibrate hand-sized magnets. Light waves with high frequencies cause atoms to jump levels instead of vibrating, and in the IR range, molecules can change their vibrational state. The oscillating electric field interacts with all matter, including atomic dipoles.
  • #1
DrBootenstein
1
0
We know that light travels through the vacuum of space because it is a self perpetuating system of electronic and magnetic waves.

Since this is the case, why do we not see the magnetic wave of light move magnets, or even make a magnet vibrate?

Is it simply because the magnitude of the magnetic wave does not exert enough force to move magnets?

If so can we not create an E&M wave with a large enough magnitude to move magnets?
OR can we create a magnet small enough to be moved by a magnetic wave?

Any insight into this topic would be helpful

Thanks
 
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  • #2
DrBootenstein said:
Since this is the case, why do we not see the magnetic wave of light move magnets, or even make a magnet vibrate?

Hand-sized magnets are much too massive to move macroscopically as such frequencies.

DrBootenstein said:
can we create a magnet small enough to be moved by a magnetic wave?

Light waves have such high frequencies that the atoms don't vibrate to it, their electrons will jump atomic levels instead.

In the IR range, you can have molecules that will change their vibrational state to incoming radiation.

Generally speaking, you should probably consider the oscillating electric field first, which interacts with any atomic dipoles (i.e. all matter, not just magnets).
 

Related to Why don't light waves move magnets?

1. Why don't light waves move magnets?

The reason light waves do not move magnets is because light waves are not made up of charged particles. Magnets are attracted to charged particles, such as electrons, which are not present in light waves. Therefore, light waves do not have a magnetic field and cannot interact with magnets.

2. Can light waves be used to move magnets?

No, light waves cannot be used to move magnets. As mentioned earlier, light waves do not have a magnetic field and therefore cannot interact with magnets. In order to move a magnet, a magnetic field or force is needed, which is not present in light waves.

3. How do magnets interact with light waves?

Magnets do not directly interact with light waves. However, when light waves pass through a magnetic field, they can be affected by the field. This is known as the Faraday effect, where the polarization of light can be changed by a magnetic field.

4. Are there any other types of waves that can move magnets?

Yes, there are other types of waves that can interact with magnets. For example, sound waves can create a magnetic field and can be used to move magnets. However, this is a secondary effect and not the direct interaction between the wave and the magnet.

5. Can magnets affect the speed of light waves?

No, magnets cannot affect the speed of light waves. The speed of light is a fundamental constant that is not affected by external factors such as magnetic fields. However, as mentioned earlier, a magnetic field can affect the polarization of light and therefore change its properties.

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