Light is an electromagnetic wave and has several wave-like properties, including:
- Wavelength: This is the distance between two consecutive peaks or troughs of a light wave. Light waves can have different wavelengths, which determine their color. For example, red light has a longer wavelength than blue light.
- Frequency: This refers to the number of waves that pass through a given point in one second. Light waves with higher frequencies have more energy than those with lower frequencies.
- Amplitude: This is the height of the wave, or the distance from the midpoint to the peak or trough. The amplitude determines the brightness of the light.
- Polarization: Light waves can be polarized, which means that they vibrate in a particular direction. Polarization can be vertical, horizontal, or at any angle in between.
- Diffraction: This is the bending of light waves around obstacles or through small openings. The amount of diffraction depends on the size of the obstacle or opening and the wavelength of the light.
- Interference: This is the interaction of two or more light waves, which can either cancel each other out or reinforce each other. Interference can produce patterns of light and dark areas, known as interference fringes.
These properties of light waves are essential to understanding the behaviour of light and how it interacts with matter.