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Edexcel

AS Physics Unit
2

Waves

Frequency
The number of oscillations per unit time
Measured in Hertz (Hz)

Period

The time taken for a point on a wave to move

through one complete oscillation


Measured in seconds
T =

Amplitude
The maximum displacement of a wave from

the equilibrium position


Measured in metres (m)

Wavelength,
The distance between two corresponding

points on a wave
Measured in metres (m)

Trough
The minimum or lowest point of a wave in a

cycle

Crest
The maximum or highest point of a wave in a

cycle

Mechanical waves
Waves which require a medium to travel

through
E.g. water waves, sound waves and seismic

waves

Propagation
The direction of travel of a wave

Continuous waves
Waves with an infinite length

Wave trains
Waves with a finite length

Pulse
Very short wave motion

Transverse waves
Disturbance occurs perpendicular to the

propagation of the wave

Longitudinal waves
Disturbance occurs parallel to the propagation

of the wave

Wave fronts
An imaginary surface that moves with a wave

Wave speed (ms-1)


Wave speed= Frequency (Hz) x Wavelength

(m)
V =

Rays
The direction in which the energy of a wave is

travelling
Lines which pass through wave fronts at 90

Electromagnetic
spectrum
The range of electromagnetic waves listed

according to their origins and properties


Radio waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Visible

light, Ultraviolet, X-Rays and Gamma

Electromagnetic waves
Waves consisting of oscillating electric and

magnetic fields (vectors) that are


perpendicular to each other and to the
direction of movement of the wave energy
Travel at 3 x 10-8 ms-1 in a vacuum
Energy is transported as photons
Transverse

Radio waves
Wavelength
Frequency
Origin
=
Detection
Properties

= >10cm
= between 108 and 1010 m
Oscillating electrons
= Radio aerials
= Reflected by ionosphere,
easily
diffracted
Uses
= Communication, Radio
astronomy

Microwaves
Wavelength
Frequency
Origin
=
Detection
Properties

= Between 10cm and 10mm


= 1010 Hz
Magnetrons
= Tuned cavities
= Reflected by metals,
absorbed
by metals
Uses
= Communications, cooking

Infrared
Wavelength
Frequency
Origin
=
Detection
Properties
Uses

controls

= Between 1mm and 700nm


= 1012 Hz
Hot bodies
= Photography, heating effect
= Emitted by all bodies above
zero Kelvin, penetrates fog
= Satellite surveying, TV

Visible light
Wavelength = Between 700nm and 400nm
Frequency
= 1014Hz
Origin
= Hot bodies, electron de-

excitation
Detection
= Eye, photography
Properties
= Colour
Uses
= Sight, communication

Visible light spectrum


Red light (620-750nm, 400-484THz)
Orange light (590-620nm, 484-508THz)
Yellow light (570-590nm, 508-526THz) decrease
Green light (495-570nm, 526-606THz) s,
increase
Blue light (450-495nm, 606-668THz)
s
Indigo light (420-440nm, 715-665THz )
Violet light
(380-450nm, 668-789THz)
Remember: Richard Of York Gave Battle In

Vain

Ultraviolet
Wavelength = Between 400nm and 1nm
Frequency
= 1015Hz
Origin = Mercury lamps, electron de-

excitation
Detection = Photography, fluorescence,
solid state detectors
Properties = Causes skin cancer (ionisation),
absorbed in
upper atmosphere
Uses = Food sterilisation, sun beds

X-Rays
Wavelength = Between 1nm and 1pm
Frequency
= 1018Hz
Origin
= X-Ray tube, de-excitation of

inner electrons
Detection
= Photography, fluorescence
Properties
= High penetration, health
hazard
Uses
= Diagnosis, radiotherapy,
astronomy

Gamma rays
Wavelength
Frequency
Origin
=
Detection

= Between 1pm and 1fm


= 1020Hz
Nuclear decay
= Photography, GM counter,
scintillation counter
Properties
= Very highly penetrating,
health hazard
Uses
= Diagnosis, radiotherapy

Superposition
When two or more waves meet, the total

displacement at any point is the sum of the


displacements that each individual wave
would cause at that point

Interference
An effect that occurs when two or more waves

overlap to produce a new wave pattern


(change in amplitude)
Interference patterns provide evidence for the

wave nature of light

Constructive Interference
The interference that occurs when two or more waves

meet at a point such that the resultant displacement


is greater than the largest individual displacement
Bright bands/ loud sounds
Maxima

In phase, n

Destructive Interference
The interference that occurs when two or more waves

meet at a point such that the resultant displacement is


less than the largest displacement
Waves must have same or and the same amplitude
Antiphase, (n+)
Dark bands/ no sound
Minima

Polarisation
Unpolarised wave= waves oscillate in many

planes
Polarised wave = waves oscillate in one

plane only
Polaroid filter only enables waves oscillating in

one plane to pass through


Filters at 90

Doppler Effect
The change of frequency of a wave due to

relative motion between the source and the


observer

Resonance
A phenomenon that occurs when the

frequency at which an object is made to


vibrate (the forced frequency of vibration) is
equal to the natural frequency of vibration

Damping
Energy is lost due to friction between the

oscillating body and the particles in the air


The amplitude of oscillations decrease with

time
The higher the damping, the faster the

oscillations will reduce in size

Simple harmonic motion


The motion of an object such that its

acceleration is proportional to its


displacement from a fixed point and is always
directed to that point

1st Harmonic

2nd Harmonic

3rd Harmonic

Stationary (standing)
wave
A wave in which the vibrational energy is

stored, rather than transmitted

Node
A point on a standing wave where the

amplitude vibration is zero or a minimum

Anti-node
A point on a standing wave where the

amplitude of vibration is maximum

Tension

Higher tension increases frequency (higher

pitch)
V=
V = wave speed (ms-1 )
T = tension (N)
M = mass per metre of the string (kgm-1 )

Phase difference
A measure of how much one wave leads or

lags behind another wave


Measured in degrees or radians
E.g. Cosine curve lags behind the Sine curve

by a phase

difference of 90 (/2 rad)

Diffraction
The spreading out of a

wave as it passes
through an aperture
(gap)
Maximum diffraction

occurs when the size


of the aperture is
similar to the
wavelength

Refraction
The change of direction of a wave as it passes

the boundary between two media


As the wave refracts, wave speed and

wavelength changes
Frequency of the wave doesnt change

Snells Law

n=

n1sin1=n2sin2

= refractive index
i or 1 = angle of incidence
r or 2 = angle of refraction

Refractive index, (n or )
Constant for a medium
Snells law: n =
n=
E.g.

nair

nwater

= 1.0
= 1.33

Critical angle, C

The angle of incidence for the denser medium for which

the angle of refraction is 90


C=

sin-1

i <

C Ray is refracted

i =

C Ray travels along boundary

i > C Total internal reflection

Redshift
The wavelength of light emitted from a star

gets shifted towards the red end of the


spectrum if the distance travelled by each
successive wave increases
If the distance travelled is less, the

wavelength gets shifted to the blue end


Evidence for the expansion of the universe

Electricity

The Electron
Fundamental particle (lepton)
Charge = -1.6 x 10_34 C
Mass = 9.11 x 10-31 kg
Found in orbitals surrounding the nucleus of

an atom

Potential Difference
The electrical energy per coulomb transferred

between two points in a circuit


Measured in volts (V)

Electromotive Force
The energy supplied per unit coulomb to the

circuit by the cell


Measured in volts (V)

Resistance R
The ratio of the potential difference across a

component and the current flowing through it


R=V/I
Caused by collisions between metal ions and electrons
Measured in ohms ()
Dependent on the metals length, cross-sectional area

and resistivity

Micro meter
A device used to measure very small

distances
Diameter of a wire
Need to measure at multiple points along

wire diameter slightly varies

Multimeter
A device used to measure resistance between

two points on a metal wire

Resistivity
R=l/A
Resistance= coefficient of resistivity x length

of metal
cross-sectional area
Measured in m
Constant for a material

Internal Resistance, Vr
The resistance to a movement of charge

(current) within an electrical power source


Vr= E-V
Vr = Potential difference across internal

resistance (lost volts)


E = Electromotive force
V = Terminal potential difference

I=Q/t
I

= Current (amps)

Q = Charge (Coulombs)
t = time (seconds)

I=navq
I=current (amps)
n= number of charge carriers per unit volume
v=drift velocity (ms-1 )
q= electron charge (1.6 x 10-19 C)

Energy Transferred (W)


Energy transferred = charge x potential

difference
W=QV
Measured in joules

Work done
The total amount of energy transferred
Work done= Power x time
Power

= Voltage x current

Work done

= Voltage x current x time

Series Circuits
RT = R1 + R2

Current is the same for each component in

the circuit
Potential difference increases
Resistance increases

Parallel Circuits
1 = 1 + 1

RT

R1

R2

RT = (R1R2)

(R1+R2)
Total current is shared between the components
Components have the same potential difference
Bulbs in parallel 4x brighter than in series less

resistance

Potential divider

To calculate ...

Step 1: Calculate the ratio of the resistances


Step 2: Multiply by its corresponding

resistance ration

Filament lamp
Non-ohmic

Current

metal filament temp.


Metal atoms vibrate
faster and further from
initial positions
More collisions

Resistance (gradient
increases)

Metallic Conductor
(at constant temperature)

Ohmic
V I (at
constant
temp.)

Semiconductor diode
Non-ohmic
Has 2 resistances
depending on
polarity (way it is
connected)
Forward
direction= low
resistance
Reverse direction
= high resistance

Thermistor
Temp.
Current
Charge
carrier
density
Resistance

Light-dependent resistor (LDR)


e- released when light
shines on it
Charge carrier density

Current

Resistance

Dark = no extra eavailable higher


resistance

Power dissipation P
The
rate at which energy is transferred to an

element in a circuit
Measured in Watts (W)
P=VI
P=I2R
P=

Where
P = Power
(W)
I = Current (A)
V = Voltage (V)

Kirchhoff's 1st Law


The total current into any point in a circuit is

equal to the total current out of that point

E.g.
I1+I2=I3+I4+I5

Kirchhoffs 2nd Law


The sum of the potential rises and falls around

a closed path in a circuit is zero

The Nature of
Light

Black body
A perfect emitter and absorber of

electromagnetic radiation

Plancks constant, h
h= 6.63 x 10-34 Js
Where

E= h

E= hc

= h = h

mv

= Photon energy
(eV)
= frequency
(Hz)
= speed of light
(3 x 10-8 ms-1)
= de Broglie Wavelength (m)
p = momentum
(kgms-1)
m = mass of an electron
(9.1 x 10-31 kg)
v = velocity of

Maximum kinetic energy, mv2max


Increases with

frequency
mv2max= h
h = photon energy
= work function of

metal

Photoelectric effect
The ejection of an electron from a metal

surface when the surface is irradiated with


electromagnetic radiation of a high enough
frequency

Gold Leaf Electroscope


Zinc plate given electrostatic charge
Electromagnetic wave with a frequency above

the threshold frequency or energy above


hits the plate, electrons emitted
The gold leaf loses charge so will fall

Threshold frequency
The minimum frequency required in order for

photoelectrons to be emitted from a metal


surface

Frequency of incident
radiation

Increases kinetic energy of emitted electrons


This is because the energy of the photon is

increased
=
=

Where...
= frequency of incident radiation
(Hz)
= wavelength of incident radiation
(m)
c= 3 x 10-8
(ms-1)
E= Photon energy
(eV)
h=Planks constant
(6.63 x 10-34
Js)

Intensity of incident
radiation
The higher the intensity of a beam of light, the more

electrons are emitted from a metal surface


This is because more photons are hitting the metal per

second
Intensity has no effect on the speed of the

photoelectrons emitted, only increases the number of


electrons emitted
Intensity Amplitude2 (for a sinusoidal wave)

Work Function
The energy required to release an electron

from the surface of a metal


Constant for a metal
= h

Where
h = Plancks constant
Js)
= threshold frequency

(6.63 x 10-34
(Hz)

Stopping Potential, eVstop

Voltage required per unit coulomb to stop the

outward movement of electrons emitted by


photoelectric action.
mv2max = eVstop

Energy levels
Electrons occupy discrete energy levels
Ground state= lowest energy level an atom

can occupy (n=1)


Energy is transferred in the collisions
When they gain energy, electrons move to
higher energy levels then return to their
ground state by emitting photons
E=hf

Energy level diagrams


Shortest wavelength highest energy photon
Energy shown as negative as energy must be

provided in order for a electron to move to a


more excited state
E.g. Energy level
diagram for
hydrogen. Shortest
wavelength (in red),
longest wavelength (in
green)

Radiation Flux (Intensity)


The
amount of energy landing on an area per

unit time
F=
F= Intensity (Wm-2 )
P=Power (W)
A=Area (m2 )

Photovoltaic Efficiency
Efficiency = useful energy (or power) input

x 100%
total energy (or power) input

Electronvolt
The energy transferred when an electron

travels through a potential difference of one


volt
1eV= 1.6 x 10-19 C

Absorption and Emission spectra


The spectrum of frequencies of

electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed


due to an atom's electrons making a transition
from a high energy state to a lower energy
state
Two types: continuous and line