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Animations of electromagnetic waves
EMANIM is an application for visualizing electromagnetic waves. Its
main features are:
- Live, three-dimensional presentation
- Interactive rotation and zooming with the mouse
- Continuous animation of wave propagation
- Any or both of two waves and optionally their superposition can be
- Vectors of the electric field are shown at two planes intersecting the
path of the light
- Wave parameters such as type of polarization, wavelength, amplitude and phase
difference can be interactively varied
- NEW: The direction of one wave can be
- To visualize the interaction of light and matter, a piece of material
can be placed into the path of the light
- Properties of this piece of material such as length, extinction
coefficients and indices of refraction can be interactively varied
- User-configurable colors
EMANIM can help the user understand a wide range of phenomena related to
electromagnetic waves, from the simplest such as a single wave in vacuum to
the most complex such as circular dichroism. Its features that promote
- 19 predefined parameter sets representing important physical phenomena
- A brief explanation of each phenomenon is displayed whenever the user
selects a phenomenon from the menu
- Phenomena from the following basic categories:
- Types of polarization (linear, circular)
- Superposition of waves
- Interference of waves, including
standing waves (NEW)
- Interaction of light and matter (absorption, refraction)
- Light in anisotropic materials (dichroism and birefringence)
- Light in optically active materials (circular dichroism and
- Hints are displayed to suggest parameters to vary in order to gain a
better understanding of the phenomenon at hand
- Five predefined views to show the phenomena from the most optimal "camera
- EMANIM is platform-independent: runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, etc.
- It requires a screen resolution of 1024x768 or greater
- EMANIM is public domain software, i.e. it can be used, modified, copied
and distributed by anyone without any restrictions and conditions
- Both its source code and various binaries are distributed free of
- Currently, it is available in two languages: English and Hungarian
NEW VERSION: Version 1.2 has been released on September 23, 2011. It has
a new feature: the direction of Wave 1 can be reversed, and a new phenomenon,
standing wave, has been added. It also has some interface changes (the
size of the explanatory text field is now intelligently adapted to the
screen size, and help texts are also shown in it). In addition, a new
Windows binary is provided that should run on all Windows 7 installations.
On Windows, please uninstall the previous version (if any) before installing this
The source code file named emanim12_python2or3.py works with both Python 2.x and 3.x; many thanks
to Michael Burns-Kaurin for creating this version.
- Windows: Download and run the provided installer
- Mac OS X: There is no installation package for the Mac.
You can try running the Windows version under the Wine compatibility layer. I
recommend the WineBottler software for
easy installation and management. Alternatively, see "other operating
- Linux: The Windows installer can be used under the Wine compatibility layer.
Alternatively, see "other operating systems".
- Other operating systems (incl. Linux, Mac, etc.): Download the source code and the program
icon, and put them in the same directory. You need to
have Python and Visual Python installed on your computer.
If that requirement is fulfilled, you can just run the source code as a
script, using the Python interpreter. Note: Emanim was tested using Python
2.x and Visual Python 5.x. It is not guaranteed to run using later Python or
Visual Python versions.
Please send comments, suggestions, bug reports, etc. to the author, András Szilágyi (e-mail:
szilagyi [dot] andras [at] ttk [dot] mta [dot] hu).
waves and circular dichroism: an animated tutorial