Electromagnetism in technology


FIRST and foremost let me commence with this prologue. At times you will encounter misspellings in writings and that paints a bad picture. I apologise for a misspelled word “volumesy” instead of “volumes” in last Friday’s article on Plasma Physics. There is no such word as “volumesy”. If you see a similar unscientific misspelling next time please, ignore it. There can always be misprints like incomplete sentences, wrong propositions, wrong grammars etc. Thank you.
Now let us as go through this lecture to unravel the technological insights to our technology world as usual.
When you are walking around during the day or night under a lit electric light, you will have noticed your shadow. To your surprise you will have learnt that you have carried that replica around with you all the time and that can only be seen when part of your path is more brightly lit than your other parts.
Electromagnetism is a phenomenon of such an inherence. Electromagnetism can be defined as electricity and magnetism. Electricity is as we know is flow of electrons and therefore is a flow of a negative charge. Magnetism is an attractive force because the term that stands out in this word is the word magnet. Magnets do attract ferric and ferrous metals such as razor blades, pins, tins and you know that. So, in culmination, electromagnetism can be simply referred to as a flow of electric current that has a magnetic effect associated with it.
Now, we understand that all things on earth including yourself and everything in the universe is made of matter. Matter is made of electrons as one of the major building blocks. So here you can figure out that those electrons can carry charges which are negative in nature. If you allow an electric current which has negative charge to pass though matter that can allow the movement of the electrons and therefore this flow of electrons concurrently generate a magnetic force with it.
This poses the question why insulators or non-conductors cannot allow electrons to flow through. The bottom line to remember in such a circumstance is that the insulators’ electrons are positioned far apart and thus cannot allow electric currents to pass through them. In such a scenario, do note that when you apply more electromagnetic field as well as heat to those insulators you will surpass their elastic limits and thus force the electrons’ excitements to freely move out of their recent position to connect or allow electric current to flow through them. These ideas are used on semiconductors in silicon, germanium, and carbon as well as dielectrics.
In free space, the permittivity of electricity and permeability of magnetism as vacuum constants allow for a generation and passage of light and such similar radiations in electromagnetism. The modern enumeration of the value 3×10 to the power of 8 (3×108) of the speed of light. This is the magnitude that radiations from electromagnetism self-propagate in a joint, dynamics of electricity and magnetism.
The above electromagnetic dynamism is the basis to cause all electromagnetic changes such as the chemical changes that take place on earth and everywhere. The reason as identified here is that all matter is made of electron as one of the sub-atomic particles and for it to carry a charge and generate magnetic effect as well will mean, it is the basic process that everything employs to effect changes on themselves. This includes all modern, technological innovations that are derived from the manipulation of this basic binding force.

Photons observed as particles. – Picture from photonics.com

Applications of electromagnetism
The electromagnetic property of matter in itself generates radiations and can also absorb radiations. That was a property first accounted for in classical physics and was later elevated to more or less a final state of a phenomenon known as a quantized particle displayed as having a specific wave property. So, in combination was a wave-particle duality property of a radiation as it is known, and light is called the photon.
A photon specifically is the amount of matter or particles having a dual property of wave. The photon as a dividend to Planck’s constant as a divisor gives a colour to specify the presence or absence of a particular natural element available in the universe. This is basically a measure of its spectrometry for the particular element’s supply in its abundance and or its scarcity or relatively its density. As mentioned above, when the quantized photon is divided by a constant known as the Planck’s constant will yield the particular colour of a radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Here we have the technologically and scientifically advanced methodology to ascertain occurrences of substances on planet earth and in the other planetary bodies and can determine their spatial distributions with mathematical methods as well.
With the availability of this knowledge, so much diverse applications are seen to take off in every direction to result in many useful products and innovations. Such applications are such as the electromagnetic induction whereby the principle is to induce current in the adjacent compete electric circuit. Such uses include electric motors, inductors, generators and transformers.
Electromagnetic waves are the next phenomenon whereby, the self-propagating electric and magnetic dipole moments can be used to pass messages in the form of waves through vacuum that do not require a medium to travel. We basically to our advantage use the radio waves and infrared waves to send and receive these signals for communication. These messages are essentially in the form of analogue as well as digital signals. Analogue waves as they are naturally inherent can be better presented in the digital format of discrete quantized signals that can contain analogue signals to very tiny micro and nano-levels of approximations that can tolerate very huge electromagnetic interferences (EMI) to send approximately error and distortion free messages to long distances. In comparison, if analogue signals are sent without such digitization process then, the message transmission and reception would be highly affected and error prone.
Other uses are found in electromagnetic radiations to determine the chemical content of highly suspicious substances that you are not aware of its content. So, what you can do is to use electromagnetic radiations to it to observe its level of absorption in the electromagnetic spectrum as well as its rate and type of electromagnetic emissions. With that instrumentation, you will be rest assured of the nature of the substance with the analysis of it called spectrometry. This area of study in electromagnetism is a field is studied in spectroscopy.
Other uses are in electromagnetic field whereby as you know all collective tendency of electrons in a substance such as a metal, plastic, wood or whatever, show electro-positivity or electro-negativity character. Thus, the south or north polarity of this substance with another substance with a different electromagnetic potential can attract if they are of different polarities. They will repel if they are of the same polarity.
This phenomenon is used to design control systems as well as computerised automatic systems. This is based on the magnetised and demagnetised property of the substance used as an armature to provide the pivotal functions in autonomous or controlled systems as well as in modern expert systems.

Arriving technologies in electromagnetism
There are currently emerging applications in the field of electromagnetism that we are to expect as technology ideas have surged and soared. Such applications include emerging electromagnetic medicine such as the current and emerging medical applications of microwave and radio frequency energy treatment of cancer, according to Carl H Sutton.
One is in electromagnetic field focusing (EFF) probe; applications in aneurysm ttreatment, angioplasty and brain tumours resection.
Furthermore, other applications are found in the microelectronics industry. Such would include the “graphene analogues as emerging materials for screening electromagnetic radiations.
According to Arief S Biwas, S Bose in Nano-Structures and Nano-Objects, 2017- Elsevier, in both foam and paper towards enhancing EMI shielding for emerging applications…growing next-generation miniature electronics, communication and health care, electromagnetic (EM) shields…demonstrate the increasing trend in nanofabrication and application of graphene”.
As we get deeper into the depth and breadth of technological ideas and innovations, I urge PNG and the decision makers to read tthe information I am bringing to you on the pages of Weekender.
That is basically your decision; you are to place PNG in safer waters so school children now, with the modifications in curriculum, should make way for present and future technology innovators.
These scientific ideas stem from science and technology and the PNG Governments now and in the future should embrace these scientific ideas to compete in the technology tide of this contemporary world age.
We should not be spoon-fed by waiting for innovations to come from Europe, United State, Japan, Australia or China. This is about building our economy, mind you.

  • Next week: Particle physics in technology]
  • Michael Uglo is the author of Science in PNG, Pacific, Asia & Caribbean and a lecturer in avionics, auto- piloting and aircraft engineering. Please send comments to [email protected]