Infrared Radiation:- Types, Features, Applications, Pros and Cons

Infrared Radiation is a  type of electromagnetic radiation that lies between visible light and microwave in a spectrum. This kind of IR wave is used in instruments such as infrared sauna, FTIR, etc.

Every object with a temperature of at least -268 °C (-450 °C /  5 K) emits IR waves. For example, about 49% of energy from the sun comes to the earth in the form of IR waves. Thus, in conclusion, every object in this universe continuously emits this kind of radiation.

Infrared Radiation Wavelength

infrared radiation, IR wave

From the table, we can know that based on the wavelength of the IR waves, they are of three types. They are near, mid, and far-infrared radiation.

Infrared Radiation Examples

The radiant heat is directly proportional to the wavelength of the infrared radiation. Thus, the far-infrared wave is hotter than the near-infrared wave. We can experience, far-infrared waves in the form of heat. The source of this radiation can be the sun, fire, radiator, etc.

In the case of a near-infrared wave, you can not even feel the heat. For example, the IR LED that we use in remote control, falls into this category.

Properties of IR Wave

The properties of the IR wave are similar to that of electromagnetic radiation.

  • IR wave shows the properties of both particles and waves.
  • It is a transverse wave in which all the points of the wave vibrate perpendicular to the direction of the propagation of the wave.
  • It can travel at the speed of light which is approximately  3×108 m/s.
  • IR wave does not need a medium for its propagation.
  • The wavelength of infrared rays ranges approximately from 750 nm to 1 mm.
  • The IR wave undergoes the phenomena of absorption, reflection, transmission, and interference.
  • It has got the property of heating an object.

Infrared Radiation Uses

  • Cool objects may not emit visible light but can emit infrared radiation. With the help of this nature of radiation, we can observe many comets and asteroids in the universe.
  • Infrared radiation has a higher wavelength than visible light. So, it doesn’t scatter as much as the visible light. So this property allows us to detect objects behind the dust and smokes. This has helped us to detect the newly forming stars embedded in the nebulas. Firefighters use IR cameras to rescue the people.  IR camera is also useful to capture images during night time. So, it is used for security purposes as well.
  • It is used in different types of instruments such as fingertip pulse oximeter, infrared sauna, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, etc.

Infrared Radiation Therapy

Infrared radiation is safe, natural, non-invasive, and painless. Similarly, it can penetrate the deep layers of the skin. So, due to these properties, it is widely used in infrared therapy such as an infrared sauna.

1. Advantages

  • Low Blood Pressure 

The radiation helps in the production of nitric oxide in the body which is a vasodilator. In other words, it helps in the relaxation of the blood capillaries. This in turn increases blood circulation and reduces blood pressure.

  • Improve Blood Circulation

We now know that infrared radiation increases the production of nitric oxide. This in turn increases the blood circulation in the body. More blood circulation means more supply of oxygen, WBC, etc.

Oxygen helps in the burning of food which in turn provides energy to the body. Similarly, WBC helps to improve the immunity system. Finally, good blood circulation helps to eliminate the waste products produced by different parts of the body.

  • Relief from sore muscles, arthritis, etc

Infrared radiation increases the activities of the mitochondria of the cells. Mitochondria help in the repair and growth of the muscles. Thus, it accelerates the action of repair of muscle injuries.

  • Anti-aging

The radiation might improve the production of elastin and collagen with the activated fibroblast. This helps to reduce wrinkles, tighten the skin layer, etc.

2. Disadvantages

Exposure to infrared radiation increases body temperature. So, due to the rise in the body temperature the user may face the following problems

  • Heat Discomfort and Heat Stroke
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Airway Irritation

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