Modern Physics

Ionizing Electromagnetic Waves

According to James Clark Maxwell’s hypotheses: 1 – A changing magnetic field is equivalent, in its effects, to an electric field; 2 – A changing electric field is equivalent, in its effects, to a magnetic field. These hypotheses are the principles of electromagnetism.

Electromagnetic waves arise as a result of a changing electric field that will induce a magnetic field, and a changing magnetic field that will induce an electric field.

The electric field vector is perpendicular to the magnetic field vector and both are perpendicular to the direction in which they propagate.
In the electromagnetic spectrum there are the different electromagnetic waves that are ordered according to the frequency – wavelength – energy they have.

All electromagnetic waves carry energy, as the length of the electromagnetic wave is shortened, the frequency increases and the energy it carries also increases. In the electromagnetic spectrum, radio waves have the least amount of energy, and gamma rays have the most.

Electromagnetic waves that have enough energy to remove electrons from the atom or break chemical bonds are ionizing, and those that have this characteristic are: the final range of ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays.

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