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LIGHT A FUNDAMENTAL FORCE IN OUR WORLD If asked what light is one could say that its one of the most basic elements of our world and our universe as we perceive it It is through sight that we receive 90 of our information It is through the use of telescopes aiding the naked eye that we are aware of the heavenly bodies around us It is through light that the energy from the sun is transferred to us The suns energy supports the food chain plants use it to turn water and CO2 into energy usable by other organisms Solar energy was also used indirectly to produce all of the fossil fuels that we consume daily Since light is such a basic part of our existence we should have a basic understanding of what it is What we call light the intangible powerful force that powers our world is somewhat hard to define in real terms It shares properties with both particles and waves It follows the same rules as a wave does--it moves in a regular fashion in a perfect sine wave at a certain frequency It travels in a straight line and is subject to refraction All of these characteristics are found in waves of any type from radio frequency waves up to Gamma and X- rays Light however also exhibits qualities characteristic of particles such as neutrons and protons A photon or quanta is the packet of energy that is sent in a light wave Like a particle the photon is believed to have a finite mass and has the ability to affect other matter As light strikes a photovoltaic solar cell it knocks electrons in the silicon atoms on the surface into a higher state of energy When these return to their normal or ground state energy is produced in the form of electricity Thus light is termed a wave-particle and this property is called the wave-particle duality of
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