A report on Infrared and Light

A pseudocolor image of two people taken in long-wavelength infrared (body-temperature thermal) radiation.
A triangular prism dispersing a beam of white light. The longer wavelengths (red) and the shorter wavelengths (blue) are separated.
This false-color infrared space telescope image has blue, green and red corresponding to 3.4, 4.6, and 12 μm wavelengths, respectively.
The electromagnetic spectrum, with the visible portion highlighted
Plot of atmospheric transmittance in part of the infrared region
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Materials with higher emissivity appear closer to their true temperature than materials that reflect more of their different-temperature surroundings. In this thermal image, the more reflective ceramic cylinder, reflecting the cooler surroundings, appears to be colder than its cubic container (made of more emissive silicon carbide), while in fact, they have the same temperature.
Beam of sun light inside the cavity of Rocca ill'Abissu at Fondachelli-Fantina, Sicily
Active-infrared night vision: the camera illuminates the scene at infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye. Despite a dark back-lit scene, active-infrared night vision delivers identifying details, as seen on the display monitor.
Due to refraction, the straw dipped in water appears bent and the ruler scale compressed when viewed from a shallow angle.
Thermography helped to determine the temperature profile of the Space Shuttle thermal protection system during re-entry.
Hong Kong illuminated by colourful artificial lighting.
Hyperspectral thermal infrared emission measurement, an outdoor scan in winter conditions, ambient temperature −15 °C, image produced with a Specim LWIR hyperspectral imager. Relative radiance spectra from various targets in the image are shown with arrows. The infrared spectra of the different objects such as the watch clasp have clearly distinctive characteristics. The contrast level indicates the temperature of the object.
Pierre Gassendi.
Infrared light from the LED of a remote control as recorded by a digital camera
Christiaan Huygens.
Reflected light photograph in various infrared spectra to illustrate the appearance as the wavelength of light changes.
Thomas Young's sketch of a double-slit experiment showing diffraction. Young's experiments supported the theory that light consists of waves.
Infrared hair dryer for hair salons, c. 2010s
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IR satellite picture of cumulonimbus clouds over the Great Plains of the United States.
The greenhouse effect with molecules of methane, water, and carbon dioxide re-radiating solar heat
Beta Pictoris with its planet Beta Pictoris b, the light-blue dot off-center, as seen in infrared. It combines two images, the inner disc is at 3.6 μm.
An infrared reflectogram of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
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Thermographic image of a snake eating a mouse
Infrared radiation was discovered in 1800 by William Herschel.
Infrared hair dryer for hair salons, c. 2010s

Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with wavelengths longer than those of visible light.

- Infrared

Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), corresponding to frequencies of 750–420 terahertz, between the infrared (with longer wavelengths) and the ultraviolet (with shorter wavelengths).

- Light
A pseudocolor image of two people taken in long-wavelength infrared (body-temperature thermal) radiation.

9 related topics with Alpha

Overall

Levels of ozone at various altitudes (DU/km) and blocking of different bands of ultraviolet radiation: In essence, all UVC is blocked by diatomic oxygen (100–200 nm) or by ozone (triatomic oxygen) (200–280 nm) in the atmosphere. The ozone layer then blocks most UVB. Meanwhile, UVA is hardly affected by ozone, and most of it reaches the ground. UVA makes up almost all UV light that penetrates the Earth's atmosphere.

Ultraviolet

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Levels of ozone at various altitudes (DU/km) and blocking of different bands of ultraviolet radiation: In essence, all UVC is blocked by diatomic oxygen (100–200 nm) or by ozone (triatomic oxygen) (200–280 nm) in the atmosphere. The ozone layer then blocks most UVB. Meanwhile, UVA is hardly affected by ozone, and most of it reaches the ground. UVA makes up almost all UV light that penetrates the Earth's atmosphere.
A 380 nanometer UV LED makes some common household items fluoresce.
Ultraviolet photons harm the DNA molecules of living organisms in different ways. In one common damage event, adjacent thymine bases bond with each other, instead of across the "ladder". This "thymine dimer" makes a bulge, and the distorted DNA molecule does not function properly.
Sunburn effect (as measured by the UV index) is the product of the sunlight spectrum (radiation intensity) and the erythemal action spectrum (skin sensitivity) across the range of UV wavelengths. Sunburn production per milliwatt of radiation intensity is increased by nearly a factor of 100 between the near UV‑B wavelengths of 315–295 nm
Demonstration of the effect of sunscreen. The man's face has sunscreen on his right side only. The left image is a regular photograph of his face; the right image is of reflected UV light. The side of the face with sunscreen is darker because the sunscreen absorbs the UV light.
Signs are often used to warn of the hazard of strong UV sources.
UV damaged polypropylene rope (left) and new rope (right)
IR spectrum showing carbonyl absorption due to UV degradation of polyethylene
A portrait taken using only UV light between the wavelengths of 335 and 365 nanometers.
Aurora at Jupiter's north pole as seen in ultraviolet light by the Hubble Space Telescope.
A bird appears on many Visa credit cards when they are held under a UV light source
After a training exercise involving fake body fluids, a healthcare worker's personal protective equipment is checked with ultraviolet light to find invisible drops of fluids. These fluids could contain deadly viruses or other contamination.
A collection of mineral samples brilliantly fluorescing at various wavelengths as seen while being irradiated by UV light.
Effects of UV on finished surfaces in 0, 20 and 43 hours.
A low-pressure mercury vapor discharge tube floods the inside of a hood with shortwave UV light when not in use, sterilizing microbiological contaminants from irradiated surfaces.
Entomologist using a UV light for collecting beetles in Chaco, Paraguay.

Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelength from 10 nm (with a corresponding frequency around 30 PHz) to 400 nm (750 THz), shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays.

He called them "(de-)oxidizing rays" (de-oxidierende Strahlen) to emphasize chemical reactivity and to distinguish them from "heat rays", discovered the previous year at the other end of the visible spectrum.

The electromagnetic spectrum

Electromagnetic spectrum

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Range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies.

Range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies.

The electromagnetic spectrum
A diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum, showing various properties across the range of frequencies and wavelengths
Plot of Earth's atmospheric opacity to various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. This is the surface-to-space opacity, the atmosphere is transparent to longwave radio transmissions within the troposphere but opaque to space due to the ionosphere.
Plot of atmospheric opacity for terrestrial to terrestrial transmission showing the molecules responsible for some of the resonances
The amount of penetration of UV relative to altitude in Earth's ozone

This frequency range is divided into separate bands, and the electromagnetic waves within each frequency band are called by different names; beginning at the low frequency (long wavelength) end of the spectrum these are: radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays at the high-frequency (short wavelength) end.

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Electromagnetic radiation

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In physics, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) consists of waves of the electromagnetic (EM) field, propagating through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy.

In physics, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) consists of waves of the electromagnetic (EM) field, propagating through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy.

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Shows the relative wavelengths of the electromagnetic waves of three different colours of light (blue, green, and red) with a distance scale in micrometers along the x-axis.
In electromagnetic radiation (such as microwaves from an antenna, shown here) the term "radiation" applies only to the parts of the electromagnetic field that radiate into infinite space and decrease in intensity by an inverse-square law of power, so that the total radiation energy that crosses through an imaginary spherical surface is the same, no matter how far away from the antenna the spherical surface is drawn. Electromagnetic radiation thus includes the far field part of the electromagnetic field around a transmitter. A part of the "near-field" close to the transmitter, forms part of the changing electromagnetic field, but does not count as electromagnetic radiation.
Electromagnetic waves can be imagined as a self-propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields. This 3D animation shows a plane linearly polarized wave propagating from left to right. The electric and magnetic fields in such a wave are in-phase with each other, reaching minima and maxima together.
Representation of the electric field vector of a wave of circularly polarized electromagnetic radiation.
James Clerk Maxwell
Electromagnetic spectrum with visible light highlighted
Rough plot of Earth's atmospheric absorption and scattering (or opacity) of various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation

It includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, (visible) light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.

☉

Sun

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Star at the center of the Solar System.

Star at the center of the Solar System.

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Illustration of the Sun's structure, in false color for contrast
Illustration of a proton-proton reaction chain, from hydrogen forming deuterium, helium-3, and regular helium-4.
Illustration of different stars's internal structure, the Sun in the middle has an inner radiating zone and an outer convective zone.
High-resolution image of the Sun's surface taken by the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST)
During a total solar eclipse, the solar corona can be seen with the naked eye, during the brief period of totality.
The Sun's transition region taken by Hinode's Solar Optical Telescope
Sunlight and glare seen overlooking from the International Space Station
Once outside the Sun's surface, neutrinos and photons travel at the speed of light
Visible light photograph of sunspot
Measurements from 2005 of solar cycle variation during the previous 30 years
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The size of the current Sun (now in the main sequence) compared to its estimated size during its red-giant phase in the future
The Solar System, with sizes of the Sun and planets to scale. The terrestrial planets are on the right, the gas and ice giants are on the left.
The Trundholm sun chariot pulled by a horse is a sculpture believed to be illustrating an important part of Nordic Bronze Age mythology.
Sol, the Sun, from a 1550 edition of Guido Bonatti's Liber astronomiae.
False-color image taken in 2010 as seen in 30.4-nanometer ultraviolet light wavelength
A false-color of a coronal hole on the Sun forming a question mark (22 December 2017)
A false-color solar prominence erupts in August 2012, as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory
The Sun seen from Earth, with glare from the lenses. The eye also see glare when looked towards the Sun directly.
Sun and Immortal Birds Gold Ornament by ancient Shu people. The center is a sun pattern with twelve points around which four birds fly in the same counterclockwise direction, Shang dynasty

It is a nearly perfect ball of hot plasma, heated to incandescence by nuclear fusion reactions in its core, radiating the energy mainly as light, ultraviolet, and infrared radiation.

White light is dispersed by a prism into the colors of the visible spectrum.

Visible spectrum

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Portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye.

Portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye.

White light is dispersed by a prism into the colors of the visible spectrum.
Laser beams with visible spectrum
Newton's color circle, from Opticks of 1704, showing the colors he associated with musical notes. The spectral colors from red to violet are divided by the notes of the musical scale, starting at D. The circle completes a full octave, from D to D. Newton's circle places red, at one end of the spectrum, next to violet, at the other. This reflects the fact that non-spectral purple colors are observed when red and violet light are mixed.
Newton's observation of prismatic colors (David Brewster 1855)
How visible light interacts with objects to make them colorful
Approximation of spectral colors on a display results in somewhat distorted chromaticity
Earth's atmosphere partially or totally blocks some wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, but in visible light it is mostly transparent

Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light.

Under optimal conditions these limits of human perception can extend to 310 nm (ultraviolet) and 1100 nm (near infrared).

The Sun, as seen from low Earth orbit overlooking the International Space Station. This sunlight is not filtered by the lower atmosphere, which blocks much of the solar spectrum.

Sunlight

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The Sun, as seen from low Earth orbit overlooking the International Space Station. This sunlight is not filtered by the lower atmosphere, which blocks much of the solar spectrum.
Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Taken on 20 October 1968 from Apollo 7.
Sunlight on Mars is dimmer than on Earth. This photo of a Martian sunset was imaged by Mars Pathfinder.
Solar irradiance spectrum at top of atmosphere, on a linear scale and plotted against wavenumber
Sunlight shining through clouds, giving rise to crepuscular rays
Spectrum of the visible wavelengths at approximately sea level; illumination by direct sunlight compared with direct sunlight scattered by cloud cover and with indirect sunlight by varying degrees of cloud cover. The yellow line shows the power spectrum of direct sunlight under optimal conditions. To aid comparison, the other illumination conditions are scaled by the factor shown in the key so they match at about 470 nm (blue light).
Sunlight penetrating through a forest canopy in Germany
Édouard Manet: Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (1862-63)
Téli verőfény ("Winter Sunshine") by László Mednyánszky, early 20th century
Sun bathers in Finland

Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun, in particular infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light.

When direct solar radiation is not blocked by clouds, it is experienced as sunshine, a combination of bright light and radiant heat.

Blue, green, and red LEDs in 5 mm diffused cases

Light-emitting diode

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Blue, green, and red LEDs in 5 mm diffused cases
Parts of a conventional LED. The flat bottom surfaces of the anvil and post embedded inside the epoxy act as anchors, to prevent the conductors from being forcefully pulled out via mechanical strain or vibration.
Close-up image of a surface mount LED
A bulb-shaped modern retrofit LED lamp with aluminum heat sink, a light diffusing dome and E27 screw base, using a built-in power supply working on mains voltage
Green electroluminescence from a point contact on a crystal of SiC recreates Round's original experiment from 1907.
A 1962 Texas Instruments SNX-100 GaAs LED contained in a TO-18 transistor metal case
LED display of a TI-30 scientific calculator (ca. 1978), which uses plastic lenses to increase the visible digit size
X-Ray of a 1970s 8-digit LED calculator display
Illustration of Haitz's law, showing improvement in light output per LED over time, with a logarithmic scale on the vertical axis
Blue LEDs
Combined spectral curves for blue, yellow-green, and high-brightness red solid-state semiconductor LEDs. FWHM spectral bandwidth is approximately 24–27 nm for all three colors.
RGB LED
Spectrum of a white LED showing blue light directly emitted by the GaN-based LED (peak at about 465 nm) and the more broadband Stokes-shifted light emitted by the Ce3+:YAG phosphor, which emits at roughly 500–700 nm
LEDs are produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. The color of the plastic lens is often the same as the actual color of light emitted, but not always. For instance, purple plastic is often used for infrared LEDs, and most blue devices have colorless housings. Modern high-power LEDs such as those used for lighting and backlighting are generally found in surface-mount technology (SMT) packages (not shown).
Image of miniature surface mount LEDs in most common sizes. They can be much smaller than a traditional 5mm lamp type LED, shown on the upper left corner.
Very small (1.6×1.6×0.35mm) red, green, and blue surface mount miniature LED package with gold wire bonding details.
High-power light-emitting diodes attached to an LED star base (Luxeon, Lumileds)
RGB-SMD-LED
Composite image of an 11 × 44 LED matrix lapel name tag display using 1608/0603-type SMD LEDs. Top: A little over half of the 21 × 86 mm display. Center: Close-up of LEDs in ambient light. Bottom: LEDs in their own red light.
Simple LED circuit with resistor for current limiting
Daytime running light LEDs of an automobile
Red and green LED traffic signals
LED for miners, to increase visibility inside mines
Los Angeles Vincent Thomas Bridge illuminated with blue LEDs
LED costume for stage performers
LED wallpaper by Meystyle
A large LED display behind a disc jockey
Seven-segment display that can display four digits and points
LED panel light source used in an experiment on plant growth. The findings of such experiments may be used to grow food in space on long duration missions.

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source that emits light when current flows through it.

Appearing as practical electronic components in 1962, the earliest LEDs emitted low-intensity infrared (IR) light.

Red (660 & 635 nm), green (532 & 520 nm) and blue-violet (445 & 405 nm) lasers

Laser

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Red (660 & 635 nm), green (532 & 520 nm) and blue-violet (445 & 405 nm) lasers
A laser beam used for welding
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A helium–neon laser demonstration. The glow running through the center of the tube is an electric discharge. This glowing plasma is the gain medium for the laser. The laser produces a tiny, intense spot on the screen to the right. The center of the spot appears white because the image is overexposed there.
Spectrum of a helium–neon laser. The actual bandwidth is much narrower than shown; the spectrum is limited by the measuring apparatus.
Lidar measurements of lunar topography made by Clementine mission.
Laserlink point to point optical wireless network
Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of the MESSENGER spacecraft
Aleksandr Prokhorov
Charles H. Townes
LASER notebook: First page of the notebook wherein Gordon Gould coined the acronym LASER, and described the elements required to construct one. Manuscript text: "Some rough calculations on the feasibility / of a LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated / Emission of Radiation. /
Conceive a tube terminated by optically flat / [Sketch of a tube] / partially reflecting parallel mirrors..."
Graph showing the history of maximum laser pulse intensity throughout the past 40 years.
Wavelengths of commercially available lasers. Laser types with distinct laser lines are shown above the wavelength bar, while below are shown lasers that can emit in a wavelength range. The color codifies the type of laser material (see the figure description for more details).
A 50 W FASOR, based on a Nd:YAG laser, used at the Starfire Optical Range
A 5.6 mm 'closed can' commercial laser diode, such as those used in a CD or DVD player
Close-up of a table-top dye laser based on Rhodamine 6G
The free-electron laser FELIX at the FOM Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen, Nieuwegein
Lasers range in size from microscopic diode lasers (top) with numerous applications, to football field sized neodymium glass lasers (bottom) used for inertial confinement fusion, nuclear weapons research and other high energy density physics experiments.
The US–Israeli Tactical High Energy weapon has been used to shoot down rockets and artillery shells.
Laser application in astronomical adaptive optics imaging

A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation.

As ideas developed, they abandoned infrared radiation to instead concentrate on visible light.

Top to bottom: Lights flashing at frequencies, 1 Hz and 2 Hz; that is, at 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 flashes per second, respectively. The time between each flash – the period T – is given by 1⁄f (the reciprocal of f); that is, 2, 1 and 0.5 seconds, respectively.

Hertz

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Unit of frequency in the International System of Units (SI) and is defined as one cycle per second.

Unit of frequency in the International System of Units (SI) and is defined as one cycle per second.

Top to bottom: Lights flashing at frequencies, 1 Hz and 2 Hz; that is, at 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 flashes per second, respectively. The time between each flash – the period T – is given by 1⁄f (the reciprocal of f); that is, 2, 1 and 0.5 seconds, respectively.
A sine wave with varying frequency
A heartbeat is an example of a non-sinusoidal periodic phenomenon that may be analyzed in terms of frequency. Two cycles are illustrated.

Light is electromagnetic radiation that is even higher in frequency, and has frequencies in the range of tens (infrared) to thousands (ultraviolet) of terahertz.