Types of Electromagnetic Waves

Types of Electromagnetic Waves

The electromagnetic waves are a form of energy that has both electric and magnetic fields. The electromagnetic spectrum includes all wave frequencies, such as radio, visible lights, and X-Rays. The waves are different from magnetic waves as they can transmit energy and travel through a vacuum. The electromagnetic waves travel with a speed of light in vacuum. They have a variety of frequencies, wavelengths, and photon energy. The EM waves are classified based on their nature, frequency, and wavelengths. There are following types of electromagnetic waves:


Radio Waves

Radio waves have the longest wavelength and lowest frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum. They can be used to carry signals to receivers. Both natural and humanmade objects emit radio waves. Radio and Television stations produce radio waves to transmit signals to received by the antenna in television, radio, or cellphones. 


Microwaves have shorter wavelengths than radio waves. They are second-lowest frequency waves. The radar system, landline phones, and data transmission use these waves. The waves are useful in communication because they can easily penetrate clouds, smoke, and light rain.


The infrared rays are present between microwaves and visible light. The remote controls and imaging technologies use infrared waves. The TV remote uses infrared rays to change the channels. Anything that emits heat emits infrared rays, including the human body. 

Visible Light Rays

The visible light covers the spectrum that can easily see by the human eye. The different frequencies of light help people to identify different colors. The wavelength of visible light ranges from 390-700 nm. 

Ultraviolet Rays

The rays have a shorter wavelength and the primary cause of sunburn. They can also cause cancer. The astronomer uses UV rays to study galaxies. Some insects like bumblebees can see UV rays. The powerful telescopes such as Hubble Space Telescope use UV rays to see distant stars. 


They are very high energy waves and have a much shorter wavelength.  The imaging technology uses X-rays to view bone structures. The German scientist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-Rays. Natural sources of X-rays are pulsars, supernovae, and black holes.

Gamma Rays

The gamma rays have the highest frequency and shortest wavelength in the EM spectrum. They can pass the space between atoms and can destroy living cells. Gamma rays are used in treating cancers and taking detailed pictures of diagnostic medicines.