MicroWorlds Contents | Advanced Light Source | Berkeley Lab

Electromagnetic Spectrum


The electromagnetic spectrum covers a wide range of wavelengths and photon energies. Light used to "see" an object must have a wavelength about the same size as or smaller than the object. The ALS generates light in the far ultraviolet and soft x-ray regions, which span the wavelengths suited to studying molecules and atoms.

Look at the picture of the electromagnetic spectrum. See if you can find answers to these questions:

  1. What kind of electromagnetic radiation has the shortest wavelength? The longest?
  2. What kind of electromagnetic radiation could be used to "see" molecules? A cold virus?
  3. Why can't you use visible light to "see" molecules?
  4. Some insects, like bees, can see light of shorter wavelengths than humans can see. What kind of radiation do you think a bee sees?
  Return to "Electromagnetic Radiation"
  Return to "The Advanced Light Source: A Tool for Solving the Mysteries of Materials."

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