Q:

How is light produced?

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Quick Answer

Light is produced through a phenomenon known as electromagnetic radiation, which is composed of both a magnetic and an electrical component. Light, or visible light, is merely one small part of the overall electromagnetic spectrum. The entire spectrum includes gamma rays, X-rays, radio waves, microwaves and infrared light.

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How is light produced?
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Full Answer

Light is produced through either natural or artificial means, such as with the sun or a light bulb, respectively. Visible light, in its simplest terms, is a release of energy in the form of a packet of electromagnetic radiation, which is perceived by the human eye as light. This packet of energy, or photon, is released when excited electrons return to stable orbits, emitting energy as they make the transition. This is part of the quantum mechanics theory of light, which deals with light interactions at atomic levels.

Light is a particle (photon) that behaves like a wave. This is known as the duality of light and is one of the more enigmatic properties of light. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, neither the electromagnetic wave theory nor the quantum theory correctly explain the behavior of light at all levels; both theories are needed to describe the phenomena accurately. It has also been shown that other particles, such as electrons, also exhibit the same wave-like properties. Most recently, the Special Theory of Relativity has been employed to produce the more complete and widely accepted theory of quantum electrodynamics.

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