Light Energy

What is the light energy that surrounds us?

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It can cause food to be heated, metals to melt, and our skin to become scorched or tanned. Harnessing light energy posed a significant difficulty for scientists up until the 1950s. In the future, it is envisioned that light energy will be used to travel between stars. Humans can detect light energy. It travels in a straight line and is made of electromagnetic energy. People use the word “light” at least 10 times per day since they are so accustomed to it. Do you ever consider the energy produced by light?

Since light has no bulk, it can be referred to as “pure” energy. Both a wave and a particle, it is both. The frequency of light affects how much energy is contained in electromagnetic radiation or light.

What is energy from light? Light energy is the category of kinetic energy that results in visible light in human vision. Light is what? Light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by hot physical objects or things like lightbulbs, lasers, and the sun.

light energy

Photons are tiny energy bunches that are carried by light. Photons are created when an object’s atoms’ temperature rises. The electrons are excited by the heat energy, creating further energy. The generated energy is released as photons. As a substance’s temperature rises, more photons are released.

Light travels by way of waves as it moves from one location to another. However, it does not require any substance to transport energy. Light can therefore travel through space without air with ease. This feature is not present in sound waves. Everything else is slower than light energy in its rate of propagation. More than 186,281 miles per second are covered in one second.

 light energy

The sun emits enormous amounts of electromagnetic radiation. Human eyes can only see a small portion of this energy, which is referred to as “visible light.” Waves created by solar energy are used for navigation. By calculating a wave’s wavelength and the distance between two nearby wave points, scientists can determine how much energy it carries.

Visible light is one of the many forms of electromagnetic energy that the sun emits. The electromagnetic spectrum is the set of all potential radiation frequencies. It demonstrates the various kinds of electromagnetic radiation, including x-rays and UV rays, that the sun releases. The various types of solar radiation intensities are distinguished by the electromagnetic spectrum. These waves’ different wavelengths correspond to the amount of energy they carry.

Types of Light Energy

Light energy come in a variety of forms, including:

Visible light is the only kind of light energy that can be seen with the unaided eye. It is an electromagnetic form of energy. Visible light is mostly produced by the sun. However, it’s also produced by lamps and torches.

Infrared light: Heat is also produced by this type of electromagnetic radiation. The infrared light makes it easy to turn on the TV using the remote. The infrared radiation travel from the remote to the television as a result.

X-rays and ultraviolet light: These light waves are used by doctors to take images of the inside of the body to identify problems such as bone fractures. Even X-rays are used by dentists to determine the degree of tooth decay.

Key properties of light

Intensity: The rate at which a source emits energy in the form of light is referred to as intensity. Watts are used to measuring power. In other words, brightness is measured by the rate at which energy in the form of light is emitted per unit of time per unit area, and this is how intensity is defined.

Frequency is the number of crests passing through a particular place each second.

Wavelength: A wavelength is a separation between two consecutive crests or troughs. When a vacuum is present, light waves go across it at the same speed. The relationship between frequency and wavelength is inverse. More wavelength results in a lower frequency.

Polarization: Polarization is the process of turning unpolarized light into polarised light energy examples. Light waves typically vibrate in various planes; hence they are not polarised.

Phase: A phase is a discrete period in the cyclic waveform. Light waves are more intense when they are in a phase.

Uses of Light Energy

There are numerous scientific and economic uses for light energy, including the following:

Food: Only light energy may be used by living things to produce food. Light provides all living things with sustenance and energy. Some microbes, like bacteria, are the exceptions to this rule.

Vision: Since living things have eyes, they can see their surroundings. However, in the absence of light, the eyes serve no purpose. The image of the thing to be seen is transmitted to the eyes when light strikes them. The brain receives this information, which causes the brain to perceive things. Light is therefore essential for seeing.

Colours: The presence of colour enhances the beauty of the world. Light is the foundation for the existence of colours. There are numerous spectra in the light, each of which corresponds to a different colour. The spectrum of Light is categorized as VIBGYOR.

The speed of light is around 300,000 km/s. As an illustration, consider the sun setting. In reality, the light you see left the sun 10 minutes earlier. Light can be measured in two different ways:

While photometry quantifies light when the wavelength is compared to a standard of brightness perception by the human eye, radiometry measures light examples of all wavelengths. Photometry is helpful whenever we need to specify how much light energy should be consumed by people. As opposed to conventional units of measurement, photometric units take into account how the human eye responds to light. This suggests that even if two sources of visible light have the same intensity, they may not appear to be as bright as one another.

Light energy exerts physical pressure on items in its path. Based on the idea that light is a particle, it is understood that photons interact with light energy and impart momentum to it. The pressure of light is equal to the power of light divided by its speed. A light beam’s impact on common things is called light pressure. Let’s say laser pointers can pick up coins, but you need billions of them to accomplish this. Asteroids spin more quickly due to light pressure. This is because it affects them in the same way that wind affects windmills. This is the rationale behind some scientists’ work on solar sails, an effort to power interplanetary travel.

Some Interesting Facts about light energy

  • Light energy can be used to characterize the electromagnetic radiation that the human eye can see.
  • Rays of light energy that are emitted from the light source and travel in all directions.
  • It travels in a straight line and is electromagnetic in nature.
  • When compared to visible light, most waves of light energy occur at different wave frequencies and are invisible to the human eye.
  • In the form of photons, light waves travel.


Researchers are working to learn more about the best ways to harness and store light energy. Learning how to control light energy is beneficial because it is abundantly available in nature. An asteroid in motion can have its speed increased or its direction changed by light energy.

Written By:
Mr Rama Krishna
Physics Subject Expert
Akshara International School

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