Electromagnetic waves consist of synchronized oscillations of electric and magnetic fields that propagate at the speed of light through a vacuum. Produced whenever charged particles are accelerated, electromagnetic waves can subsequently interact with charged particles. In the quantum theory of electromagnetism, light consists of photons. The energy of an individual photon is quantized and is greater for photons of higher frequency.
A thorough descriptive understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum is essential for the MCAT, along with a facility for carrying out calculations involving wavelength, wave speed and frequency involving light. An essential theme for focus is the interaction of electromagnetic waves with matter such as production of photons in the transition of electrons to lower energy levels in an atom. Other important examples include the interaction of ultraviolet and visible light photons with conjugated organic molecules and absorption of infrared radiation in line with transitions between vibrational states in chemical bonds. Additionally, the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with biological systems is an important theme, especially regarding ultraviolet and higher frequencies which can cause direct molecular damage.
Electromagnetic Waves Cards
Conceptual Vocabulary Self-Test
Basic Terms Crossword Puzzle
Basic Puzzle Solution
Conceptual Vocabulary for The Properties of Light