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Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than visible light, but shorter than microwave radiation. The name means "below red" (from the Latin infra, "below"), red being the color of visible light of longest wavelength. Infrared radiation has wavelengths between 700 nm and 1 mm.
IR is often subdivided into near-IR (NIR, 0.7-5 µm in wavelength), mid-IR (MIR (also intermediate-IR (IIR)), 5 - 30 µm) and far-IR (FIR, 30 - 1000 µm). However, these terms are not precise, and are used differently in the various study. Infrared radiation is often linked to heat, since objects at room temperature or above will emit radiation mostly concentrated in the mid-infrared band (see black body).
Smoke is more transparent to infrared than to visible light, so fire fighters apply infrared imaging equipment when working in smoke-filled areas.
A more common use of IR is in television remote controls. In this case it is used in preference to radio waves because it does not interfere with the television signal. IR data transmission is also employed in short-range communication among computer peripherals and personal digital assistants. These devices usually conform to standards published by IrDA, the Infrared Data Association. Remote controls and IrDA devices use infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to emit infrared radiation which is focused by a plastic lens into a narrow beam. The beam is modulated, i.e. switched on and off, to encode the data. The receiver uses a silicon photodiode to convert the infrared radiation to an electric current. It responds only to the rapidly pulsing signal created by the transmitter, and filters out slowly changing infrared radiation from sunlight, people and other warm objects.
The light used in fiber optic communication is typically infrared.
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