infrared radiation


infrared radiation
Portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that extends from the microwave range to the red end of the visible light range.

Its wavelengths vary from about 0.7 to 1,000 micrometres. Most of the radiation emitted by a moderately heated surface is infrared, and it forms a continuous spectrum. Molecular excitation produces extensive infrared radiation but in a discrete spectrum of lines or bands. Infrared wavelengths are useful for night-vision equipment, heat-seeking missiles, molecular spectroscopy, and infrared astronomy, among other things. The trapping of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases is also the basis of the greenhouse effect.

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      that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that extends from the long wavelength, or red, end of the visible-light range to the microwave range. Invisible to the eye, it can be detected as a sensation of warmth on the skin. The infrared range is usually divided into three regions: near infrared (nearest the visible spectrum), with wavelengths 0.78 to about 2.5 micrometres (a micrometre, or micron, is 10-6 metre); middle infrared, with wavelengths 2.5 to about 50 micrometres; and far infrared, with wavelengths 50 to 1,000 micrometres. Most of the radiation emitted by a moderately heated surface is infrared; it forms a continuous spectrum. Molecular excitation also produces copious infrared radiation but in a discrete spectrum of lines or bands.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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