What Do All Electromagnetic Waves Have in Common?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 30, 2020 12:26:34 AM ET

Some characteristics shared by all electromagnetic waves are that they all travel at the speed of light and their transmission does not need a medium. These wave types can also travel through empty spaces.


The different types of electromagnetic waves are radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma rays. Radio waves have the lowest frequency and longest wavelength, while gamma rays have the shortest wavelength and highest frequency.

Some differences in electromagnetic waves are that they have varying wavelengths, frequencies and electromagnetic radiation emission. For example, electromagnetic waves that have high frequencies, such as gamma rays, will emit higher amounts of electromagnetic radiation than waves that are at the other end of the spectrum like microwaves.