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Light and heat?

  1. Sep 21, 2009 #1
    Do all types of light in the radioactive spectrum emit heat? If so, why is infrared the only one associated with heat?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    All types of light are electromagnetic radiation (not radioactive). Infrared is associated with heat because the temperature associated with infrared covers a wide range of temperatures we see in every day life. Our body temperature causes us to emit in the infrared part of the spectrum, for example.
  4. Sep 21, 2009 #3
    Oops, that was a typo on the electromagnetic. Anyway, I don't really get what you mean by infrared temperature. Does that mean other parts of the spectrum don't emit heat that we can associate with? For example, I don't understand why visible light and radio waves do not seem to emit heat, and heat lasers are always associated with the infrared range.
  5. Sep 21, 2009 #4


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    Science Advisor

  6. Sep 21, 2009 #5
    Electromagnetic radiations of all wavelength are related to energy, meaning they carrier energy. The frequency of infrared radiation is that of thermal vibration directly. Higher frequency radiation, say UV can push electrons to higher levels which may not result in heating objects.
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