What is the difference between intensity and energy of EMR? Why does increase in intensity not result in an increase in the energy of EMR?If the frequency of the EMR is same and its intensity...

What is the difference between intensity and energy of EMR?

Why does increase in intensity not result in an increase in the energy of EMR?


If the frequency of the EMR is same and its intensity increases then will its energy also gets increases?

Also define intensity in simple terms and also state the relation between intensity and energy of EMR if any. 

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bandmanjoe's profile pic

bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

The energy of the electromagnetic radiation is one of the identifying properties that is unique to that one type of radiation.  So that should be thought of as a qualitative aspect to that type of radiation.  Intensity, on the other hand, should be thought of from a quantitative standpoint.  X-rays are a type of EMR that are relatively high energy.  The wave length and frequency are the identifying aspects that place it energy-wise on the electromagnetic spectrum.  If we have ten sources that are all pumping out x-rays, that would jump the intensity level times a factor of 10.  So intensity is quantity, or how much, while energy is what kind of energy level.  Another way to think of it would be in terms of desserts, say, pudding, for example.  The energy would be represented by flavor.  We have a choice of chocolate, strawberry, caramel, and vanilla.  The intensity would be the number of servings you want.  We might choose chocolate pudding, for example.  A single serving would represent one intensity level.  if we go back for seconds, we just doubled the intensity level.

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