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B Z t = E y x B Z t = x E 0 cos ( k x ω t ) = k E 0 sin ( k x ω t ) .

Because the solution for the B -field pattern of the wave propagates in the + x -direction at the same speed c as the E- field pattern, it must be a function of k ( x c t ) = k x ω t . Thus, we conclude from [link] that B z is

B z ( x , t ) = k ω E 0 cos ( k x ω t ) = 1 c E 0 cos ( k x ω t ) .

These results may be written as

E y ( x , t ) = E 0 cos ( k x ω t ) B z ( x , t ) = B 0 cos ( k x ω t )
E y B z = E 0 B 0 = c .

Therefore, the peaks of the E and B fields coincide, as do the troughs of the wave, and at each point, the E and B fields are in the same ratio equal to the speed of light c . The plane wave has the form shown in [link] .

Figure shows the positive x direction as the direction of propagation. The positive y direction is labeled electric field and the positive z direction is labeled magnetic field. A sine wave in the xy plane is labeled E. The electric field arrows have their bases on the x axis and their tips on wave E. Another sine wave labeled B is in the xz plane. The magnetic field arrows have their bases on the x axis and their tips on wave B. Waves E and B have the same wavelength and are in phase with each other.
The plane wave solution of Maxwell’s equations has the B field directly proportional to the E field at each point, with the relative directions shown.

Calculating B -field strength in an electromagnetic wave

What is the maximum strength of the B field in an electromagnetic wave that has a maximum E -field strength of 1000 V/m?


To find the B -field strength, we rearrange [link] to solve for B , yielding

B = E c .


We are given E , and c is the speed of light. Entering these into the expression for B yields

B = 1000 V/m 3.00 × 10 8 m/s = 3.33 × 10 −6 T .


The B -field strength is less than a tenth of Earth’s admittedly weak magnetic field. This means that a relatively strong electric field of 1000 V/m is accompanied by a relatively weak magnetic field.

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Changing electric fields create relatively weak magnetic fields. The combined electric and magnetic fields can be detected in electromagnetic waves, however, by taking advantage of the phenomenon of resonance, as Hertz did. A system with the same natural frequency as the electromagnetic wave can be made to oscillate. All radio and TV receivers use this principle to pick up and then amplify weak electromagnetic waves, while rejecting all others not at their resonant frequency.

Check Your Understanding What conclusions did our analysis of Maxwell’s equations lead to about these properties of a plane electromagnetic wave:
(a) the relative directions of wave propagation, of the E field, and of B field,
(b) the speed of travel of the wave and how the speed depends on frequency, and
(c) the relative magnitudes of the E and B fields.

a. The directions of wave propagation, of the E field, and of B field are all mutually perpendicular. b. The speed of the electromagnetic wave is the speed of light c = 1 / ε 0 μ 0 independent of frequency. c. The ratio of electric and magnetic field amplitudes is E / B = c .

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Production and detection of electromagnetic waves

A steady electric current produces a magnetic field that is constant in time and which does not propagate as a wave. Accelerating charges, however, produce electromagnetic waves. An electric charge oscillating up and down, or an alternating current or flow of charge in a conductor, emit radiation at the frequencies of their oscillations. The electromagnetic field of a dipole antenna is shown in [link] . The positive and negative charges on the two conductors are made to reverse at the desired frequency by the output of a transmitter as the power source. The continually changing current accelerates charge in the antenna, and this results in an oscillating electric field a distance away from the antenna. The changing electric fields produce changing magnetic fields that in turn produce changing electric fields, which thereby propagate as electromagnetic waves. The frequency of this radiation is the same as the frequency of the ac source that is accelerating the electrons in the antenna. The two conducting elements of the dipole antenna are commonly straight wires. The total length of the two wires is typically about one-half of the desired wavelength (hence, the alternative name half-wave antenna ), because this allows standing waves to be set up and enhances the effectiveness of the radiation.

Questions & Answers

Newton's second laws is call with
Dyutee Reply
what is mean by thermodynamics
Prasad Reply
it is study about temperature and it's equilibrium
Its the study of heat and its relation with others kind of energy
state caulombs law clearly
constand Reply
show mathematically that an electron has the greater speed than the proton when they attract each other
ezra Reply
show mathematically that an electron has the greater speed than the proton when they attract each other
@ezra & srikanta; for electrons: a=ke^2/(mr^2) and for protons: a=kp^2/(mr^2)
what is electrostatics
Hero Reply
the study of charge at rest
@Hero; the study of charges at rest is the electrostatics
okay what is electrostatic?
charge at rest
set of character...
Gauss law, electric fields, dipoles,...
A proton initially at rest falls through a p.d of 25000V. what speed does it gain?
Minister Reply
@Minister; use equation v= sq root(2×eV/m)
what is the reaction of heat on magnet
Magnetization decreases with increase in temperature. But in case of diamagnetic substance heat has no role on magnetization.
what is a physical significant of electric dipole moment .
A dipole moment it's a mechanical electrical effect used in nature
what is the uses of carbon brushes in generator
Malik Reply
to minimize heat
at what temperature is the degree Fahrenheit equal to degree Celsius
Grace Reply
Celsius and Faharaneith are different, never equal
find their liners express of n=a+b/T² ( plot graph n against T)
Donsmart Reply
Radio Stations often advertis "instant news,,if that meens you can hear the news the instant the radio announcer speaks it is the claim true? what approximate time interval is required for a message to travel from Cairo to Aswan by radio waves (500km) (Assume the waves Casbe detected at this range )
mahmod Reply
what is growth and decay
Pawan Reply
Can someone please predict the trajectory of a point charge in a uniform electric field????
erlinda Reply
what is deference between strong force and coulomb force
zahid Reply
how do you convert temperature in degree Celsius to Fahrenheit
Celsius x 9/5 +32

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 2. OpenStax CNX. Oct 06, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12074/1.3
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