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What are wavelengths?

Updated: 9/13/2023
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A wave can be thought of as a vibrating disturbance by which energy is transmitted. Waves are characterized by their height and Length. Consider water waves in the ocean: They have peaks and troughs and move on one direction.

A wavelength (symbolized in chemistry by the Greek letter lambda) is the distance from the center of one peak of a wave to the center of the next peak of the next wave ( water wave, radio wave, electromagnetic, etc.). The frequency symbolized by a "v" (called nu ) is the number of waves that pass through a particular point in one second.


There is another term in association with wavelength called amplitude. Amplitude is the vertical distance from the midline of a wave to the peak or trough.


The speed ( u ) of a wave is the product of its wavelength and frequency: u=lambda (v)


A wavelength is usually expressed in units of meters, centimeters, or nanometers (1 x 10 -9 meters), and frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz), were 1Hz= 1 cycle per second.


Reference: Chemistry by chang 10th

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