Characteristics of Light
There are a few fundamental characteristics of light that are useful to be aware of before proceeding with the discussion on how CCD's and Film can function to save a useful, meaningful image. One of these important fundamental qualities is the fact that visible light is electromagnetic radiation.
Electromagnetic Radiation, Photons, and Energy Levels
Electromagnetic radiation has many different classifications. Some such classifications include AM/FM Radio Waves, microwaves, visible light, x-rays, and gamma rays. A key factor in these classifications is that each different type or "level" of electromagnetic radiation contains different energy levels. These energy levels are determined by the speed or rate that charges from a given source move to create an electric field (for instance, moving charges through an antenna or lightbulb) (Serway 1090). Hence, this oscillating electric field has two very important characteristics: it has a frequency and a wavelength. Furthermore, light can also behave as a particle in some instances. This particle of light is called a photon, and is essentially the amount of energy that a light wave has at a certain frequency (the energy of a photon is not dependent on the intensity of the light, but rather only dependent upon its frequency) (Serway 1107). It is this "duality of light" that allows CCD's and film to function as they do, as energy is transferred to materials through light via. photons.
Since the energy of a photon is only related to its frequency, an equation (discovered by Einstein) relates photons to the electrons they produce by:
E = h * f
Where E is the energy of the produced electron, h is Planck's constant (6.63 * 10^-34 J...
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