Electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation or EMR) is one of the fundamental phenomena of electromagnetism, behaving as waves propagating through space, and also as photon particles traveling through space, carrying radiant energy. In a vacuum, it propagates at a characteristic speed, the speed of light, normally in straight lines. EMR is emitted and absorbed by charged particles. As an electromagnetic wave, it has both electric and magnetic field components, which oscillate in a fixed relationship to one another, perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy and wave propagation.
EMR is characterized by the frequency or wavelength of its wave. The electromagnetic spectrum, in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength, consists of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays. The eyes of various organisms sense a somewhat variable but relatively small range of frequencies of EMR called the visible spectrum or light. Higher frequencies correspond to proportionately more energy carried by each photon; for instance, a single gamma ray photon carries far more energy than a single photon of visible light.
Geometrical optics, or ray optics, describes light propagation in terms of "rays". The "ray" in geometric optics is an abstraction, or "instrument", which can be used to approximately model how light will propagate. Light rays are defined to propagate in a rectilinear path as they travel in a homogeneous medium. Rays bend (and may split in two) at the interface between two dissimilar media, may curve in a medium where the refractive index changes, and may be absorbed and reflected. Geometrical optics provides rules, which may depend on the color (wavelength) of the ray, for propagating these rays through an optical system. This is a significant simplification of optics that fails to account for optical effects such as diffraction and interference. It is an excellent approximation, however, when the wavelength is very small compared with the size of structures with which the light interacts. Geometric optics can be used to describe the geometrical aspects of imaging, including optical aberrations.
An Ultrasonic grating is a type of diffraction grating produced by an ultrasonic wave. An ultrasonic wave is a sound wave having a frequency greater than 20 kHz. The human ear can not recognize ultrasonic waves, but animals such as bats and dogs can easily sense the ultrasonic wave. It is produced by the phenomena of the Piezo-electric effect and magnetostriction.
When ultrasonic waves are generated in a liquid kept in rectangular vessel, the wave can be reflected from the walls of the vessel.These reflected waves are called echos. The direct and reflected waves get superimposed, which causes a standing wave to be formed. The density of the liquid at the node will be more than the density at an antinode. Under these conditions, if a parallel beam of light is passed through the liquid at right angles to the wave the liquid acts as a diffraction grating. Such a grating is known as an acoustical grating.
Gamma radiation, also known as gamma rays, and denoted by the Greek letter γ, refers to electromagnetic radiation of extremely high frequency and therefore high energy per photon. Gamma rays are ionizing radiation, and are thus biologically hazardous. They are classically produced by the decay from high energy states of atomic nuclei (gamma decay), but are also created by other processes. Paul Villard, a French chemist and physicist, discovered gamma radiation in 1900, while studying radiation emitted from radium. Villard's radiation was named "gamma rays" by Ernest Rutherford in 1903.
Natural sources of gamma rays on Earth include gamma decay from naturally occurring radioisotopes, and secondary radiation from atmospheric interactions with cosmic ray particles. Rare terrestrial natural sources produce gamma rays that are not of a nuclear origin, such as lightning strikes and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. Gamma rays are produced by a number of astronomical processes in which very high-energy electrons are produced, that in turn cause secondary gamma rays by the mechanisms of bremsstrahlung, inverse Compton scattering and synchrotron radiation. A large fraction of such astronomical gamma rays are screened by Earth's atmosphere and can only be detected by spacecraft.