Where Can We Meet Infrared Waves Every Day?
Infrared waves are electromagnetic radiations invisible to our naked eyes, and their frequency band lies between 740 nm and 400000 nm. Since our eyes can not detect its frequency, we are often unaware of the infrared rays that we encounter on a day-to-day basis!
Although these waves are invisible to our eyes, they have been a turning point in many industries like surveillance. With the advent of SWIR sensors and LWIR sensors, the aerospace, military and defense, and surveillance sectors have witnessed significant transitions.
These infrared waves can both be our saviors and destroyers, so read on to find out various sources of infrared we meet in our daily lives without even knowing it!
Colors And Infrared-Rays
Before understanding where we come across infrared rays, let us determine what colors these rays prefer. You might have observed that your clothes become much warmer during summers when you wear black. This phenomenon occurs due to its high light absorption properties.
This is why a black coating finds numerous applications across industries. Coating a substance or product with the blackest black color can significantly reduce the noise levels and reflection. Sometimes, a thick coat of light-absorbing paint is applied to harness the sun’s energy or to avoid glare as well!
Similarly, white does the opposite, it is an excellent reflector of these IR waves, and hence if you are in a sunny place where things get heated up quickly, white paint can do the trick by reflecting this IR energy!
The infrared region can broadly be classified into three regions, namely SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR. Each of these ranges finds extensive industry applications due to their properties.
SWIR can detect gasses and chemicals and is also used in LiDAR for autonomous traversals. Above all, it is best suited for regions with low visibility like the oceans and seas. SWIR finds its use in glass and solar inspection, telecommunication, ophthalmology, surveillance, weapon guidance, targeting pod, LiDAR, maritime, and spectroscopy.
Similarly, MWIR cameras can detect gas leaks in chemical industries to prevent any mishaps from occurring. Both MWIR and LWIR cameras are employed by the military forces to spot any human activity.
1. Remote Control
These are some common devices that you come across daily, whether operating televisions, stereos, or playing with toy cars. However, have you ever wondered how these devices communicate without connecting wires?
The answer is infrared waves. The science behind remote controls involves the remote control acting as a transmitter. It is designed to pick up any commands you give and convert them into binary signals. This conversion is done with the aid of the infrared waves of the EM spectrum.
Once the conversion takes place, the binary coded IR signals are transmitted through the receivers in your gadgets, and then the command gets executed.
2. Sun And Fire
If you bring your hands closer to a fire source, you would feel the heat irradiating from the flames; however, this heat will be invisible to your eye because it is radiating in the form of IR waves.
Similarly, the Sun emits many waves across the EM spectrum; however, its primary constituents include UV, Visible, and IR rays. In fact, any object that touches the 5K temperature mark automatically becomes an IR radiation source.
However, assuming that high temperatures are prerequisites for an object to emit IR radiation would be an enormous scientific blunder because every object in this universe emits these radiations to a certain extent.
3. Infrared Thermometer
An infrared thermometer provides you with quick results, and the best part about these thermometers is that you can obtain contactless readings. This device especially found its increased usage during the COVID-19 era, where safety and social distancing were regarded as critical precautionary measures.
These thermometers have an IR source that emits the light, and later it gets reflected by the object’s surface. The reflected IR waves are then detected by the detector present in the device, followed by temperature calculations and output display.
Astronomy enthusiasts know how vital a SWIR camera is for their studies and research. Infrared waves have relatively longer wavelengths allowing them to pass through dense gasses as they undergo less scattering and reflection in space, unlike visible light.
They are used in a wide range of devices like balloon payloads, airborne, and space telescopes which can then be used to study the thermal radiation emitted or radiated from celestial bodies. In addition, these rays can also detect cold objects which might not be visible from ordinary telescopes or cameras. These rays are also used to study various astronomical phenomena and objects in space.
For example, the James Webb Telescope, an infrared observatory, was fabricated so that scientists could study and detect galaxies that formed early in the timeline and understand the origins of the universe more profoundly.
5. Thermal Imaging Camera
An LWIR, MWIR, or SWIR camera is often used for surveillance during nights or in regions with low visibility. These cameras detect and collect the infrared data present from the surroundings and then feed this obtained data into the processor.
Once this stage is completed, the processor processes the raw data into an electronic image and then displays the final output on the screen. SWIR sensors are handy for seeing through fog, haze, or glass.
SWIR is a form of reflected energy ideal for identification processes and ultra-low imaging! Hence, the chances are you might be surrounded by these thermal imagers, which continuously monitor your surroundings!
If you are curious and want to find out about the myriads of infrared energy sources around, you can always utilize these IR cameras and find out! You would be surprised to find that it is almost everywhere! You might have also observed that channels like National Geographic use these IR cameras to identify animal behavioral patterns during the night!
6. Infrared Saunas
Saunas are a great way to flush out your frustrations and relax! It is a respite that offers you a chance to reduce stress and skin problems and improve cardiovascular health. Many saunas and spas use IR rays to relax your body and mind! These IR rays are also used in the treatment of your skin problems!
IR rays can penetrate your skin deeper, which makes them ideal for usage in saunas and spas. Its ability to produce thermal energy is also one of the primary reasons it is used in therapies. You would be surprised to know that these seemingly invisible EM rays are capable of helping in the treatment of cardiovascular respiratory problems, blood clotting, and osteoarthritis!
In addition, they can also relieve pain, improve mobility of joints, and increase blood flow which ultimately improves your body health!
7. Electric Heaters
Electric heaters use infrared rays to heat the surroundings. Usually, their internal structure comprises infrared light bulbs that act as the source and radiate high-intensity IR rays. They also have an inbuilt heat exchanger that is made of conductors like copper, and these exchangers help in the movement of heat from one point to another.
Lastly, they are also embedded with fans that help blow air to the heat exchanger. These electrical heaters are much more energy-efficient than the typical heaters that use various types of fuels to generate energy! If you live in regions where the winters are frigid, you definitely might encounter these electric heaters frequently!
8. Historical Restoration
Did you know that IR rays can not only help in healing the human body, but they can also help the age-old art and historical artifacts and art pieces to be restored to their original glory?
Infrared sensors use infrared reflectography to achieve this feat. Some portions of these rays get absorbed, while others get reflected. Now, the reflected rays are studied to obtain data about the object’s nature.
Therefore, it can not only help in their restoration but can help in establishing its credibility and authenticity. Consequently, you might find that your nearest artifact stores or art exhibitions deal with this technology!
Remember how we mentioned that almost everybody emits a certain amount of IR radiation? Well, that includes you too! That means every object around you with a non-zero temperature gives out infrared radiation without you knowing it! Isn’t it fascinating?
This brings us to the question: how do we emit infrared waves? All the atoms in our body vibrate and give off specific amounts of energy, and because we aren’t hot enough, the frequency emitted by us falls in the IR region rather than UV or other higher energy bands!
10. Optical Fibers
The introduction of these fibers to the industries changed the world of communication. Their refractive properties make them the perfect choice for myriads of applications. However, have you wondered what regions of the EM spectrum are utilized for optical fiber communication?
Well, you guessed it right! Infrared waves have significantly longer wavelengths as opposed to visible light. This means that there are way less chances of signal attenuation or deterioration!
In short, if you use any device for communication, the chances are that you are dealing with the IR region of the EM spectrum!
11. Infrared Cookers
By now, you must be aware that infrared rays are adept at producing enormous amounts of thermal energy, which can conveniently be used for cooking purposes. The technology employed in this case is very similar to the microwave ovens.
A process known as incandescent heating is involved while cooking food in an infrared cooker where the internal structure comprises a halogen lamp as well as an infrared burner.
These IR waves help the food atoms to vibrate and therefore induce the cooking effect!
12. Infrared Lamps
Sun is one of the major sources of infrared, and although we emit IR radiation, the intensity and the amount given out can not be used for industrial applications. This is why artificial infrared lamps are often manufactured, and you find them almost in every sector.
In chemical industries, these lamps can be integrated with detectors to manufacture spectrometers that can help us study the purity and composition of the samples. This can help companies estimate if their product is good enough to be sent to the market.
These infrared rays especially help the pharmaceutical companies where the purity of the substance can not be compromised. These instruments are so effective that they are also used for extraterrestrial exploration. Many Mars missions have employed these IR spectrometers to search for life and organic compounds! Hence these IR waves can abundantly be seen in research and chemical sectors.
The Blackest Black Coats
Shades of black find extensive usage in many industries due to their extensive light absorption properties. If you are wondering where to find the finest light absorption materials and coats, look no further because we have got you covered! Sometimes, IR waves can cause interferences that can reduce the efficiency of your devices. However, you do not have to worry!
Acktar is a pioneer in this industry, and its quality of the blackest black coats and paints is unparalleled! Whether you want to suppress stray lights or blacken optomechanical components, we have the finest super black materials, black foils, and coatings!
Make a difference in your industry by opting for our diverse range of coats and paints! Our coatings will absorb various types of energy so that your devices and products function seamlessly without any attenuation or disturbances!
Infrared rays are almost found everywhere in nature and man-made objects, yet we often remain oblivious to their presence and benefits. Although our eyes can not perceive their presence, these rays have been paramount in revolutionizing our world. They have found such wide applications in almost every industry that it would be impossible to imagine a world without them.
From providing warmth to helping us navigate blurry paths, they have done it all. Instrumentation, communication, research, chemistry, and various other instruments have benefited from these invisible waves! Hopefully, this article helped you find where you would meet infrared rays in your daily life and how these IR waves have helped different industries for various purposes!
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