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Question

What happens at the ends of the electromagnetic spectrum? Do the wavelengths continue to get shorter and longer or is there some ultimate limit?
Asked by: Jim Clark

Answer

The electromagnetic spectrum has no theoretical limit at either end. You can create as long a wavelength (ie. as low a frequency) as you want simply be moving an electric charge back and forth in as long a period of time as you choose. Given the proportionality of energy and frequency, long wavelengths such as this represent very low energies.

At the other end of the spectrum, it takes higher energies to create higher frequencies (shorter wavelengths). That means you are limited only by the energy available. If all the mass/energy in the Universe is considered a 'limit', then that would be the only real theoretical limit to the maximum frequency attainable.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor


Science Quote

'There is no inductive method which could lead to the fundamental concepts of physics. Failure to understand this fact constituted the basic philosophical error of so many investigators of the nineteenth century.'

Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)


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