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Photonics is the science of light, and photons are the basic units of light. Photons are quite special because they act as both particles and waves. As particles, photons are considered to be point-like packets of energy, which have no mass and always move at the speed of light. As waves, they exhibit behaviors like reflection, refraction, and diffraction. This wave-particle duality allows photons to be used in a wide range of applications, from imaging and communications to computing and energy generation.

Then to the right of the visible spectrum, there's ultraviolet light, which the sun emits a lot of, but we can't see it. It's what gives you a sunburn if you're out too long without sunscreen. Even further right, there's X-rays, like what doctors use to look at bones inside the body, and gamma rays, which can come from radioactive elements and are also invisible to our eyes.

Electromagnetic Spectrum

But light has more to it than just what we can see. To the left, you see AM, FM and TV labeled, which are called radio waves. These are actually a type of light too, just with a much longer wavelength that our eyes can’t see. We use them for broadcasting signals over long distances like listening to music on the radio.

Then to the right of the visible spectrum, there’s ultraviolet light, which the sun emits a lot of, but we can’t see it. It’s what gives you a sunburn if you’re out too long without sunscreen. Even further right, there’s X-rays, like what doctors use to look at bones inside the body, and gamma rays, which can come from radioactive elements and are also invisible to our eyes.

Photonics involves working with all these types of light, not just the colors we can see. It’s used in creating and improving things like solar panels, fiber optics for internet cables, medical equipment, and even in creating better displays for TVs and phones. It’s essentially a field where people figure out new ways to use light to make our lives better.

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