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infrared in·fra·red (ĭn'frə-rěd')
Of or relating to the range of invisible radiation wavelengths from about 750 nanometers, just longer than red in the visible spectrum, to 1 millimeter, on the border of the microwave region.
Generating, using, or sensitive to infrared radiation.
Relating to the invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths longer than those of visible red light but shorter than those of microwaves. See more at electromagnetic spectrum.
Our Living Language : In 1800 the astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered infrared light while exploring the relationship between heat and light. Herschel used a prism to split a beam of sunlight into a spectrum and then placed a thermometer in each of the bands of light. When he placed the thermometer just outside the red band, where there was no visible color, the temperature rose, as if light were shining on the thermometer. Further experiment showed that this invisible radiation behaved like visible light in many ways; for example, it could be reflected by a mirror. Infrared radiation is simply electromagnetic radiation with a lower frequency than visible light, having longer wavelengths of 0.7 micrometer to 1 millimeter. Ultraviolet radiation, like infrared radiation, lies just outside the visible part of the spectrum, but with higher frequencies; some animals, such as bees, are capable of seeing such radiation. Both infrared and ultraviolet radiation are often referred to as forms of light, though they cannot be seen by human beings. Heat energy is often transferred in the form of infrared radiation, which is given off from an object as a result of molecular collisions within it. Molecules typically have a characteristic infrared absorption spectrum, and infrared spectroscopy is a common technique for identifying the molecular structure of substances. Astronomers similarly analyze the infrared radiation emitted by celestial bodies to determine their temperature and composition.