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Electromagnetic radiation, is a form of energy emitted by moving charged particles. As it travels through space it behaves like a wave, and has an oscillating electric fieldcomponent and an oscillating magnetic field. These waves oscillate perpendicularly to and in phase with one another.
The creation of all electromagnetic waves begins with a charged particle. This charged particle creates an electric field (which can exert a force on other nearby charged particles). When it accelerates as part of an oscillatory motion, the charged particle creates ripples, or oscillations, in its electric field, and also produces a magnetic field (as predicted by Maxwell's equations).
Once in motion, the electric and magnetic fields created by a charged particle are self-perpetuating—time-dependent changes in one field (electric or magnetic) produce the other. This means that an electric field that oscillates as a function of time will produce a magnetic field, and a magnetic field that changes as a function of time will produce an electric field. Both electric and magnetic fields in an electromagnetic wave will fluctuate in time, one causing the other to change.
Electromagnetic waves are ubiquitous in nature (i.e., light) and used in modern technology—AM and FM radio, cordless and cellular phones, garage door openers, wireless networks, radar, microwave ovens, etc. These and many more such devices use electromagnetic waves to transmit data and signals.
All the above sources of electromagnetic waves use the simple principle of moving charge, which can be easily modeled. Placing a coin in contact with both terminals of a 9-volt battery produces electromagnetic waves that can be detected by bringing the antenna of a radio (tuned to a static-producing station) within a few inches of the point of contact.
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“The Production of Electromagnetic Waves.”
Boundless, 26 May. 2016.
Retrieved 25 Feb. 2017 from