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A changing magnetic field produces a perpendicular electric field
All of this can take place in open space, the alternating electric and magnetic fields supporting each other as they travel through space at the speed of light. This dynamic structure of electric and magnetic fields propagating through space is better known as an electromagnetic wave.
There are many kinds of natural radiative energy composed of electromagnetic waves. Even light is electromagnetic in nature. So are X-rays and “gamma” ray radiation. The only difference between these kinds of electromagnetic radiation is the frequency of their oscillation (alternation of the electric and magnetic fields back and forth in polarity). By using a source of AC voltage and a special device called an antenna, we can create electromagnetic waves (of a much lower frequency than that of light) with ease.
An antenna is nothing more than a device built to produce a dispersing electric or magnetic field. Two fundamental types of antennae are the dipole and the loop.
Dipole and loop antennae
The dipole looks like an open circuit, and the loop like a short circuit. These pieces of wire are effective radiators of electromagnetic fields when connected to AC sources of high frequency. The two open wires of the dipole act as a sort of capacitor (two conductors separated by a dielectric), with the electric field open to dispersal instead of being concentrated between two closely-spaced plates. The closed wire path of the loop antenna acts like an inductor with a large air core, again providing opportunity for the field to disperse away from the antenna instead of being concentrated and contained as in a normal inductor.
As the powered dipole radiates its changing electric field into space, a changing magnetic field is produced at right angles, thus sustaining the electric field further into space, and so on as the wave propagates at the speed of light. As the powered loop antenna radiates its changing magnetic field into space, a changing electric field is produced at right angles, with the same end-result of a continuous electromagnetic wave sent away from the antenna. Both types antennas achieves the same basic task: the controlled production of an electromagnetic field.
When attached to a source of high-frequency AC power, an antenna acts as a transmitting device, converting AC voltage and current into electromagnetic wave energy. Antennas also have the ability to intercept electromagnetic waves and convert their energy into AC voltage and current. In this mode, an antenna acts as a receiving device.
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