You are on page 1of 14

Chapter 8

Electromagnetic Waves
Important Results
1. Maxwell found an inconsistency in the Ampere’s law and
suggested the existence of an additional current called
displacement current. This displacement current is due to time
varying electric field and given by
dφ E
Id = ε 0
dt
It acts as a source of magnetic field, as the same way as
conduction current.
2. The ratio of amplitude of electric field to the amplitude of
magnetic field gives the speed of light in vacuum.
E0
i. e., =c
B0
1
3. The speed of light in vacuum c = , where µ0 is the absolute
µ0 ε 0
permeability of space and ε0 be the absolute permittivity of space.
4. The speed of light or electromagnetic waves in a material medium
1
is given by v = , where µ is the permeability of the medium
µε
and ε is its permittivity.
5. Electromagnetic waves carry energy as they travel through space
and this energy is shared equally by the electric and magnetic
fields.
6. The energy density of electric field is given by
1
u E = ε0 E 2 = u B
2
7. The energy density of magnetic field is given by
B2
uB = = uE
2µ0
8. Total average energy density = u E + u B = 2u E = 2u B
1 B2
= ε0 E02 = 0
2 2µ0
200 www.arihantbooks.com

9. Electric and magnetic fields oscillate sinusoidally in space and

time in an electromagnetic wave. The oscillating electric and
magnetic fields, E and B are perpendicular to each other as well as
perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the
electromagnetic wave.
10. The electromagnetic spectrum has infinite range of wavelengths,
such as γ-rays, X-rays, UV rays, visible rays, infrared rays, micro
11. In electromagnetic wave, the variation of electric field vector can
 x
be given by the equation E = E0 sin ω t −  and of magnetic field
 c
vector by the equation
 x
B = B0 sin ω t − 
 c
12. Maxwell’s equations
q
(i) ∫ E. dA = (Gauss’s law for electricity)
ε0
(ii) ∫ B. dA = 0 (Gauss’s law for magnetism)
dφ E
(iii) ∫ E. dl = − dt (Faraday’ law)
dφ E
(iv) ∫ B. dl = µ0 IC + µ0 ε0 dt
(Ampere-Maxwell law)

Exercises
Question 1. Figure shows a capacitor made of two circular plates each
of radius 12 cm and separated by 5.0 cm. The capacitor is being charged
by an external source (not shown in the figure). The charging current is
constant and equal to 0.15 A.
(a) Calculate the capacitance and the rate of charge of potential
difference between the plates.
(b) Obtain the displacement current across the plates.
(c) Is Kirchhoff ’s first rule (junction rule) valid at each plate of the
capacitor? Explain.
NCERT Class XII Physics Solutions 201

Use the concept of parallel plate capacitor and capacitance of the

K A ε0
capacitor C = .
d
Solution Given, radius of plates r = 12 cm = 12 × 10− 2 m
Separation of two circular plates
d = 5 cm = 5 × 10− 2 m
Current I = 0.15 A
(a) Capacitance of parallel plate capacitor
ε A
C= 0
d
where, A is the area of plates.
8.854 × 10− 12 × 3.14 (12 × 10− 2 )2
C=
5 × 10− 2
8.854 × 3.14 × 144 × 10− 12 − 4 + 2
C=
5
C = 8.01 × 10− 14 F = 8.01 pF
Charge on the plates of the capacitor
q = CV
dq dV
=C⋅
dt dt
dV  dq 
I =C⋅ Q =I
dt  dt 
dV I 0.15
= = = 18.7 × 109 V/s
dt C 8.01 × 10− 12
Thus, the rate of change of potential is 18.7 × 109 V/s.
(b) The displacement current is equal to the conduction current
Id = 0.15 A.
(c) Yes, Kirchhoff ’s first rule is valid because we take the current to be
the sum of conduction currents and the displacement currents.
Question 2. A parallel plate capacitor
(shown in figure) made of circular plates
each of radius R = 6.0 cm has a capacitance
C = 100 pF. The capacitor is connected to a
230 V AC supply with a (angular) frequency
(a) What is the rms value of the
conduction current?
(b) Is the conduction current equal to the displacement current?
(c) Determine the amplitude of B at a point 3.0 cm from the axis
between the plates.
202 www.arihantbooks.com

Solution Given radius of plates R = 6 cm = 6 × 10− 2 m

Capacitance of capacitor
C = 100 pF = 100 × 10− 12 F = 10− 10 F
Voltage of capacitor V = 230 V
Frequency of capacitance ω = 300 rad/s
V
(a) The rms value of current Irms = rms
XC
1 1 1010
∴ XC = = = Ω
ωC 300 × 10− 10 300
230 × 300
∴ Irms = = 3 × 23 × 1000 × 10− 10
1010
= 69 × 10− 7 = 6.9 × 10− 6 A
Irms = 6.9 µ A
(b) Yes, the conduction current is equal to displacement current
dφ E
Id = ε0 (By the definition of displacement current)
dt
d
Id = ε0 (EA) (φ E = EA)
dt
dE  σ Q 
Id = ε0 A E = = 
dt  ε0 ε0 A 
d  Q 
Id = ε0 A  
dt  ε0 A 
1 dQ dQ
Id = ε0 A ⋅ ⋅ = =I
ε0 A dt dt
Id = I
(c) Given, the distance of point from the axis between the plates
r = 3 cm = 3 × 10− 2 m
Radius of plates R = 6 cm = 6 × 10− 2 m
The magnetic field at a point between the plates
µ
B = 0 2 ⋅ r ⋅ Id
2 πR
µ r
B= 0 2 I (Id = I)
2 πR
If I = I0 , maximum value of current then I = 2 Irms
µ r
B = 0 2 2Irms
2 πR
NCERT Class XII Physics Solutions 203

4π × 10− 7 × 0.03 × 2 × 6.9 × 10− 6

B=
2π × 0.06 × 0.06
B = 1.63 × 10− 11 T

Question 3. What physical quantity is the same for X-rays of

wavelength 10 − 10 m, red light of wavelength 6800 Å and radiowaves of
wavelength 500 m?
Solution Here, X-rays, red light and radiowaves all are the
electromagnetic waves. As we know that all the electromagnetic waves
travel with the same speed c that is speed of light. Thus, the speed is
same for X-rays, red light and radiowaves.
Question 4. A plane electromagnetic wave travels in vacuum along
Z-direction. What can you say about the directions of its electric and
magnetic field vectors? If the frequency of the wave is 30 MHz, what is its
wavelength?
Solution As we know that the direction of electromagnetic wave is
perpendicular to both electric and magnetic fields. Here,
electromagnetic wave is travelling in Z-direction, then electric and
magnetic fields are in X-Y direction and are perpendicular to each other.
Frequency of waves f = 30 MHz = 30 × 106 Hz
Speed c = 3 × 108 m/s
Using the formula, c=fλ
Wavelength of electromagnetic waves
c 3 × 108 300
λ= = = = 10 m
f 30 × 10 6
30
Thus, the wavelength of electromagnetic waves is 10 m.
Question 5. A radio can tune into any station in the 7.5 MHz to
12 MHz band. What is the corresponding wavelength band?
Solution Given, frequency f1 = 7.5 MHz
Frequency f2 = 12 MHz
Speed of EM wave c = 3 × 108 m/s
Wavelength corresponding to frequency f1
c 3 × 108 3000
λ1 = = = = 40 m
f1 7.5 × 10 6
7.5
Wavelength corresponding to frequency f2
c 3 × 108 300
λ2 = = = = 25 m
f2 12 × 106 12
Thus, the corresponding wavelength band is 25 m to 40 m.
204 www.arihantbooks.com

Question 6. A charged particle oscillates about its mean equilibrium

position with a frequency of 10 9 Hz. What is the frequency of the
electromagnetic waves produced by the oscillator?
Solution According to the question,
Frequency of the electromagnetic waves = 109 Hz
The frequency of electromagnetic waves produced by the oscillator is
same as that of the oscillating charged particle about its equilibrium
position.
Question 7. The amplitude of the magnetic field part of a harmonic
electromagnetic wave in vacuum is B0 = 510 nT. What is the amplitude of
the electric field part of the wave?
Solution Given, magnetic field part of harmonic electromagnetic wave
B0 = 510 nT
E0
Speed of light in vacuum c =
B0
where, E0 is the electric part of the wave
E0
3 × 108 =
510 × 10− 9
or E0 = 153 N/C
Thus, the amplitude of the electric field part of wave is 153 N/C.
Question 8. Suppose that the electric field amplitude of an
electromagnetic wave is E 0 = 120 N/C and that its frequency is ν = 50.0
MHz. (a) Determine, B0 , ω, k and λ. (b) Find expressions for E and B.
Solution Given, amplitude of an electromagnetic wave, E0 = 120 N/C
Frequency of wave f = 50 MHz = 50 × 106 Hz
(a) Speed of light in vacuum
E
c= 0
B0
E 120
B0 = 0 = = 40 × 10− 8
c 3 × 108
or B0 = 400 × 10− 9 T = 400 nT
Angular frequency of wave,
ω = 2πf = 2 × 3.14 × 50 × 106
ω = 3.14 × 108 rad/s
Wave number of electromagnetic waves
ω 3.14 × 108
c 3 × 108
NCERT Class XII Physics Solutions 205

Wavelength of electromagnetic wave

c 3 × 108
λ= = =6.00 m
f 50 × 106
(b) Expression of electric field E = E0 sin (kx − ωt)
E = 120 sin (1.05x − 3.14 × 108 t)
Expression of magnetic field B
B = B0 sin (kx − ωt)
B = 4 × 10− 7 sin (1.05x − 3.14 × 108 t)

Question 9. The terminology of different parts of the electromagnetic

spectrum is given in the text. Use the formula E = hν (for energy of a
quantum of radiation : photon) and obtain the photon energy in units of
eV for different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. In what way are
the different scales of photon energies that you obtain related to the
Solution Given, energy of photon E = hν
For γ-rays
Frequency of γ-rays ν = 3 × 1020 Hz
Energy of γ-rays E = hν = 6.6 × 10− 34 × 3 × 1020 = 19.8 × 10− 14 J
19.8 × 10− 14
or E= = 1.24 × 106 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
The source of γ-rays is nuclear origin.
For X-rays
Frequency of X-rays ν = 3 × 1018 Hz
Energy of X-rays E = hν = 6.6 × 10− 34 × 3 × 1018 = 19.8 × 10− 16 J
19.8 × 10− 16
or E= = 1.24 × 104 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
The retardation of high energy electron produces X-rays.
For ultraviolet rays
Frequency of rays ν = 1015 Hz
Energy of ultraviolet rays E = hν = 6.6 × 10− 34 × 1015 = 6.6 × 10− 19 J
6.6 × 10− 19
or E= = 4.125 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
It originates by the excitation of atoms.
For visible rays
Frequency of visible rays ν = 6 × 1014 Hz
Energy of visible rays E = hν = 6.6 × 10–34 × 6 × 1014 = 39.6 × 10– 20 J
206 www.arihantbooks.com

39.6 × 10− 20
or E= = 2.475 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
They produce by the excitation of valance electrons.
For infrared rays
Frequency of infrared rays ν = 1013 Hz
Energy of infrared rays E = hν = 6.6 × 10− 34 × 1013 = 6.6 × 10− 21 J
6.6 × 10− 21
or E= = 4.125 × 10− 2 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
They originate by the excitation of atoms and molecules.
For microwaves
Frequency of microwaves ν =1010 Hz
Energy of microwaves E = hν = 6.6 × 10− 34 × 1010 = 6.6 × 10− 24 J
6.6 × 10− 24
or E= = 4.125 × 10− 5 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
They originate by the oscillating current in vacuum tubes.
Frequency of radio waves ν = 3 × 108 Hz
Energy of radiowaves E = hν = 6.6 × 10−34 × 3 × 108 = 19.8 × 10− 26 J
19.8 × 10− 26
or E= = 1.24 × 10− 6 eV
1.6 × 10− 19
They originate by oscillating current.
γ-rays 1.24 × 10 6 eV
X-rays 1.24 × 10 4 eV
Ultraviolet rays 4.12 eV
Visible waves 2.475 eV
Infrared waves 4.125 × 10 − 2 eV
Microwaves 4.125 × 10 −5 eV
Radiowaves 1.24 × 10 − 6 eV

Question 10. In a plane electromagnetic wave, the electric field oscillates

sinusoidally at a frequency of 2.0 × 1010 Hz and amplitude 48 V/m.
(a) What is the wavelength of the wave?
(b) What is the amplitude of the oscillating magnetic field?
(c) Show that the average energy density of the E field equals the
average energy density of the B field.
[c = 3 × 10 8 m/s.]
NCERT Class XII Physics Solutions 207

Solution Frequency of oscillation = 2 × 1010 Hz

Given, c = 3 × 108 m/s
Electric field amplitude E0 = 48 V/m
c 3 × 108
(a) Wavelength of waves λ = = = 1.5 × 10− 2 m
f 2 × 1010
E
(b) Using the formula, c = 0
B0
The amplitude of the oscillating magnetic field
E 48
B0 = 0 = = 1.6 × 10− 7 T
c 3 × 108
(c) The average energy density of electric field
1
u E = ε0 E02 …(i)
4
E0
We know that =c
B0
Putting in Eq. (i),
1
∴ u E = ε0 . c2 B02 …(ii)
4
1
Speed of electromagnetic waves, c =
µ0 ε0
Putting in Eq. (ii), we get
1 1
uE = ε0 B02 ⋅
4 µ0 ε0
1 B02 B2
uE = ⋅ = 0 = µ B.
4 µ0 2µ0
Thus, the average energy density of the E field equals the average
energy density of B field.

Question 11. Suppose that the electric field part of an electromagnetic
wave in vacuum is
E = {(3.1 N/C) cos [(1.8 rad/m) y + (5.4 × 10 6 rad/s)t]} \$i.
(a) What is the direction of propagation?
(b) What is the wavelength λ?
(c) What is the frequency ν?
(d) What is the amplitude of the magnetic field part of the wave?
(e) Write an expression for the magnetic field part of the wave.
208 www.arihantbooks.com

Solution (a) From the equation, it is moving in Y-axis and also in

negative direction, so it moves in – \$j-direction.
(b) The electric part of electromagnetic wave in vacuum
E = 3.1 cos (1.8 y + 5.4 × 106 t) \$i
Comparing with standard equation E = E0 cos (Ky + ωt), we get
Angular frequency ω = 5.4 × 106 rad/s
Wave number K = 1.8 rad/m
The amplitude of the electric field part of the wave
E0 = 3.1 N/C
2π 2π
λ= = = 3.492 m
K 1.8
λ = 3.5 m
(c) ω = 2πν
ω 5.4 × 106 × 7
ν= = = 0.86 × 106 Hz
2π 2 × 22
E
(d) c= 0
B0
Amplitude of magnetic field
E 3.1
B0 = 0 = = 1.03 × 10– 8 T
c 3 × 108
(e) Expression for the magnetic field part of wave
B = B cos (Ky + ωt) k\$
0
B = 1.03 × 10– 8 cos (1.8 y + 5.4 × 108 t) k\$

Question 12. About 5% of the power of a 100 W light bulb is converted

(a) at a distance of 1m from the bulb?
(b) at a distance of 10 m?
Assume that the radiation is emitted isotropically and neglect reflection.
Solution Total power = 100 W
Visible radiation power = 5% of total power
5
= × 100 = 5 W
100
(a) At a distance of 1m, the energy distributed in the form of sphere.
Area of sphere = 4π (radius)2
Power 5
= = = 0.4 W/m2
Area 4 × 3.14 × (1)2
NCERT Class XII Physics Solutions 209

Intensity of visible radiation at a distance of 10 m

5
= = 4 × 10− 3 W/m2
4 × 3.14 (10)2

Question 13. Use the formula λ mT = 0.29 cm-K to obtain the

characteristic temperature ranges for different parts of the
electromagnetic spectrum. What do the numbers that you obtain tell you?
Solution λ mT = 0.29 cm-K
0.29
λm = m
T × 100
Let we take λ m = 10− 6 m
0.29
Required absolute temperature T = = 2900 K
100 × 10− 6
Let we take λ m = 5 × 10− 5 m
0.29
Required absolute temperature T = = 6000 K
100 × 5 × 10− 5
We can find the temperature for other parts of the electromagnetic
spectrum. These number tell us about the temperature ranges for
particular part of EM waves.
Question 14. Given below are some famous numbers associated with
electromagnetic radiations in different contexts in physics. State the part
of the electromagnetic spectrum to which each belongs.
(a) 21 cm (wavelength emitted by atomic hydrogen in interstellar space).
(b) 1057 MHz (frequency of radiation arising from two close energy
levels in hydrogen; known as Lamb shift).
(c) 2.7 K (temperature associated with the isotropic radiation filling all
space-thought to be a relic of the ‘big-bang’ origin of the universe).
(d) 5890 Å - 5896 Å (double lines of sodium).
(e) 14.4 keV (energy of a particular transition in 57 Fe nucleus
associated with a famous high resolution spectroscopic method
(Mössbauer spectroscopy)).
Solution (a) This wavelength (21 cm) corresponds to the radiowaves.
(b) This frequency (1057 MHz) also corresponds to the radiowaves
(short wavelength).
(c) T = 2.7 K
Using the formula λ m T = b = 0.29 cm-K
0.29
λm = cm = 0.11 cm
2.7
This wavelength corresponds to the microwaves region of the
electromagnetic waves.
210 www.arihantbooks.com

(b) This wavelength lies in the visible region of the electromagnetic

spectrum.
(c) Energy E = 14.4 keV = 14.4 × 103 × 1.6 × 10− 19 J
E 14.4 × 1.6 × 10− 16
Frequency of wave, ν = = = 3 × 1011 MHz
h 6.6 × 10− 34
This frequency lies in the X-ray region of the electromagnetic
spectrum.
Question 15. Answer the following questions :
(b) It is necessary to use satellites for long distance TV transmission.
Why?
(c) Optical and radiotelescopes are built on the ground but X-ray
astronomy is possible only from satellites orbiting the earth. Why?
(d) The small ozone layer on top of the stratosphere is crucial for
human survival. Why?
(e) If the earth did not have an atmosphere, would its average surface
temperature be higher or lower than what it is now?
(f) Some scientists have predicted that a global nuclear war on the
earth would be followed by a severe ‘nuclear winter’ with a
devastating effect on life on earth. What might be the basis of this
prediction?
they are reflected by the ionosphere.
(b) It is necessary to use satellites for long distance TV transmission
because the television signal are of high frequency and they are not
reflected by the ionosphere. So, for the reflection of TV waves,
satellites are needed.
penetrate the atmosphere whereas X-rays are of much smaller
wavelengths and they are absorbed by the atmosphere. So, we can
work with optical and radio telescopes on earth’s surface but X-rays
astronomical telescopes must be used on the satellite orbiting above
the earth’s atmosphere.
(d) The small ozone layer present on the top of the stratosphere absorbs
most of the ultraviolet radiations from the sum which are dangerous
and cause genetic damage to the living cells. Ozone layer prevent
them from reaching the earth’s surface and helps in the survival of
the life.
(e) If the earth did not have atmosphere, its surface temperature would
be lower because the green house effect of the atmosphere would be
absent.
(f) The clouds produced by a global nuclear war would perhaps cover
most parts of the sky preventing solar light from reaching many
parts of the globe. This would cause a winter.
NCERT Class XII Physics Solutions 211

Selected NCERT Exemplar Problems

Question 1. Why is the orientation of the portable radio with respect to
Solution The orientation of the portable radio with respect to
broadcasting station is important because the electromagnetic waves are
plane polarized, so the receiving antenna should be parallel to the
electric or magnetic vector part of the wave.

Question 2. Why does microwave oven heats up a food item containing

water molecules most efficiently?
Solution Microwave oven heats up the food items containing water
molecules most efficiently because the frequency of microwaves matches
the resonant frequency of water molecules.
Question 3. The charge on a parallel plate capacitor varies as
q = q0 cos 2 πνt. The plates are very large and close together (area = A,
separation = d). Neglecting the edges effects find the displacement current
through the capacitor?
Solution The displacement current through the capacitor
dq d
Id = Ic = = (q0 cos 2πνt)
dt dt
Id = Ic = − q0 sin 2πνt × 2πν
Id = Ic = − 2πνq0 sin 2πνt
Question 4. A variable frequency AC source is connected to a
capacitor. How will the displacement current change with decrease in
frequency?
1
Solution Capacitative reaction X C =
2πfC
1
∴ XC ∝
f
As frequency decreases, X C increases and current is inversely
 1 
proportional to X C Q I ∝  . So, displacement current decreases.
 X C

Question 5. The magnetic field of a beam emerging from a filter facing

a floodlight is given by B = 12 × 10 8 sin (1.20 × 107 z − 3.60 × 1015 t) T.
What is the average intensity of the beam?
Solution Magnetic field B = B0 sin ωt
Given, equation B = 12 × 10−8 sin (1.20 × 107 z − 3.60 × 1015 t) T
On comparing this equation with standard equation, we get
B0 = 12 × 10−8
212 www.arihantbooks.com

The average intensity of the beam

1 B02 1 (12 × 10−8 )2 × 3 × 108
Iavg = ⋅c = × = 1.71 W /m2
2 µ0 2 4π × 10−7

Question 6. You are given a 2 µF parallel plate capacitor. How would

you establish an instantaneous displacement current of 1 mA in the space
between its plates?
Solution Given, capacitance of capacitor C = 2 µF,
Displacement current Id = 1 mA
Charge q = CV
Iddt = CdV [Q q = it ]
dV
or Id = C
dt
dV
1 × 10−3 = 2 × 10−6 ×
dt
dV 1
or = × 10+3 = 500 V
dt 2
So, by applying a varying potential difference of 500 V/s we would
produce a displacement current of desired value.
Question 7. Show that the radiation pressure exerted by an EM wave
of intensity I on a surface kept in vacuum is I/C.
Force F
Solution Pressure = =
Area A
Force is the rate of change of momentum
dp
i.e., F=
dt
U
Energy in time dt, U = p ⋅ C or p =
C
1 U
∴ Pressure = ⋅
A C ⋅ dt
I  U 
Pressure = Q I = Intensity =
C  A ⋅ dt 

Question 8. What happens to the intensity of light from a bulb if the

distance from the bulb is doubled? As a laser beam travels across the
length of a room, its intensity essentially remains constant.
Solution As the distance is doubled, the area of spherical region (4πr 2 )
will become four times, so the intensity becomes one fourth the initial
 1
value Q I ∝ 2  but in case of laser it does not spread so its intensity
 r 
remains same.