# The lowest visible frquency

by bobie
Tags: frquency, lowest, visible
 P: 334 Hi, what is the lowest visible frequency? can anyone see light with f less than 4*1014 Hz?
 Homework Sci Advisor HW Helper Thanks ∞ PF Gold P: 11,070 This is a very commonly asked question - did you try canvassing the answers? The longest wavelength most people have a chance of seeing is 780nm ... with differences between individuals. Which is around 3.85x1014Hz or 385THz That wavelength is incredibly difficult to see - try it. Frequencies "less than" that get easier to see ... but I think you meant to ask about higher frequencies :) AFAIK: nobody is tracking World records for the longest wavelength of light seen. What do you want to know for?
P: 334
 Quote by Simon Bridge This is a very commonly asked question - did you try canvassing the answers? The longest wavelength most people have a chance of seeing is 780nm ... with differences between individuals. What do you want to know for?
Thanks, just out of interest, actually the bolded part is what interested me most. I must learn to "canvass", I regret I did not know that , and got a yellow card!
Thanks again

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## The lowest visible frquency

Googling your question is a good tool, and good training for when you have to do literature reviews.
Read lots of replies to get a feel for the range of answers to expect - and use this information to refine your question for the next round of searching. That way, by the time you ask a question here, it will be a very well thought out and researched question. i.e. you could have asked about the variation in long wavelength sensitivity between individuals right off the bat.

To get the variation between individuals, you want to find some actual data ... that would be "spectral sensitivity of the human eye". This is a field with lots of work being done for different reasons but hunting in, say, Google Scholar, will give you an idea of how big-a question you asked :)

The cut-off wavelengths will probably be quite sharp since they depend on the chemistry of the cones in the retina. 780nm would be "near infra-red" BTW. Longer than that and the light starts to get detected by your body as heat.
P: 334
 Quote by Simon Bridge That wavelength is incredibly difficult to see - try it.
Is there really a chance I could do that?, I'd love to
 Quote by Simon Bridge Googling your question is a good tool Read lots of replies.
I am only a student and probably do not belong here.
I tried googling but it is dangerous for me as I cannot distinguish good sites from bad :
I found a site on QM that explained things very clearly, I asked in a (probably my first) thread if it was reliable (how could I know?) : the thread was deleted and I was reprimanded as the answer, apparently, was "no"

In this case I tried at a good site a mentor recommended:
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
and it gives ( like wiki and other sites) a figure of 700 nm, which I suspected to be a rounded figure. You confirmed that, but I could not possibly expect such a different figure of 790 , the one you gave me
And then, I was curious to know if that can vary a lot with individuals.

This is only in order to justify my behaviour. Please accept my apologies for wasting your time
 P: 2,861 You can buy 780 nm laser diodes. Be very careful because light you can't see can still blind you.
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 Quote by bobie Is there really a chance I could do that?, I'd love to
780nm diodes are not inexpensive ... take care though.
You can also construct a simple spectrograph from a diffraction grating... you'll get a rainbow off white light. You can mark off the extreme ends of the color band and use some geometry to work out what the wavelengths were.

The main trouble is that the long-wavelength response of you eye is not great so you need qute a bright light to see it and that can be dangerous.

 I am only a student and probably do not belong here.
Nonsense. This site exists to help students struggling with this sort of material.
Don't let the terseness of replies get to you - if I thought you didn't belong here I would not have replied at all.

 I tried googling but it is dangerous for me as I cannot distinguish good sites from bad : I found a site on QM that explained things very clearly, I asked in a (probably my first) thread if it was reliable (how could I know?) : the thread was deleted and I was reprimanded as the answer, apparently, was "no"
That is why you look at lots of answers - yu soon learn which sites are reliable.
You can also get good info off unreliable sites too ... which is a bit unforntunate.

 In this case I tried at a good site a mentor recommended: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html and it gives ( like wiki and other sites) a figure of 700 nm, which I suspected to be a rounded figure. You confirmed that, but I could not possibly expect such a different figure of 790 , the one you gave me
hyperphysics is an educational site so it gives the standard limits ... more detailed information usually requires more detailed background knowledge.

 And then, I was curious to know if that can vary a lot with individuals.
Variation between individuals can be dramatic - with some people unable to see any red light at all.
But do not expect a great deal of penetration into the infra-red ... the ability depends on chemistry and hard physical laws. For someone to see 790nm, they'd probably have to have an extra chemical in their eyes no-one else has.

detailed rundown on the human visual system...
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/l...sionintro.html
... scroll down to "absorption spectra of human visual pigments"

http://www.phys.ufl.edu/~hagen/phz47...offerLynch.pdf
... discusses evolutionary constraints on what the eye is susceptable to

But what you want is something that covers "photometric properties"
http://www.ecse.rpi.edu/~schubert/Li...le-Chapter.pdf

.... what you are looking for is
"spectral responce of the human eye" or "near-infrared response of the human eye".
http://www.physicsforums.com/newrepl...eply&p=4542447

If you are looking into specific claims of being able to see in the infra-red there may be more direct approaches to checking them out.

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