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October 2002 (Volume 11, Number 9)

Although quantization may seem to be an unfamiliar concept, we encounter it frequently. For example, US money is integral multiples of pennies. Similarly, musical instruments like a piano or a trumpet can produce only certain musical notes, such as C or F sharp. Because these instruments cannot produce a continuous range of frequencies, their frequencies are quantized. Planck's quantization of energy is described by the his famous equation:. However, for our purposes, its value to four significant figures is sufficient:.

As the frequency of electromagnetic radiation increases, the magnitude of the associated quantum of radiant energy increases. As the temperature of an object increases, there is an increased probability of emitting radiation with higher frequencies, corresponding to higher-energy quanta.

What is Kirchoff's Law? Blackbody and Cavity Radiation!

At any temperature, however, it is simply more probable for an object to lose energy by emitting a large number of lower-energy quanta than a single very high-energy quantum that corresponds to ultraviolet radiation. At the time he proposed his radical hypothesis, Planck could not explain why energies should be quantized. Initially, his hypothesis explained only one set of experimental data—blackbody radiation.

Radiation – College Physics

If quantization were observed for a large number of different phenomena, then quantization would become a law. In time, a theory might be developed to explain that law. Max Planck explain the spectral distribution of blackbody radiation as result from oscillations of electrons. Similarly, oscillations of electrons in an antenna produce radio waves. Max Planck concentrated on modeling the oscillating charges that must exist in the oven walls, radiating heat inwards and—in thermodynamic equilibrium—themselves being driven by the radiation field.

With that assumption, Planck calculated the following formula for the radiation energy density inside the oven:. In addition to being a physicist, Planck was a gifted pianist, who at one time considered music as a career.

During the s, Planck felt it was his duty to remain in Germany, despite his open opposition to the policies of the Nazi government. The near perfect agreement of this formula with precise experiments e.

Radiant energy transfer in waters

His blackbody curve was completely accepted as the correct one: more and more accurate experiments confirmed it time and again, yet the radical nature of the quantum assumption did not sink in. However, the result was correct anyway! The mathematics implied that the energy given off by a blackbody was not continuous, but given off at certain specific wavelengths, in regular increments. If Planck assumed that the energy of blackbody radiation was in the form. This was indeed difficult for Planck to accept, because at the time, there was no reason to presume that the energy should only be radiated at specific frequencies.

It was as if the vibrations of a mass on the end of a spring could only occur at specific energies. In branches of physics other than radiometry, electromagnetic energy is referred to using E or W. The term is used particularly when electromagnetic radiation is emitted by a source into the surrounding environment. This radiation may be visible or invisible to the human eye. The term "radiant energy" is most commonly used in the fields of radiometry , solar energy , heating and lighting , but is also sometimes used in other fields such as telecommunications.

In modern applications involving transmission of power from one location to another, "radiant energy" is sometimes used to refer to the electromagnetic waves themselves , rather than their energy a property of the waves. In the past, the term "electro-radiant energy" has also been used. The term "radiant energy" also applies to gravitational radiation.

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Because electromagnetic EM radiation can be conceptualized as a stream of photons , radiant energy can be viewed as photon energy — the energy carried by these photons. Alternatively, EM radiation can be viewed as an electromagnetic wave, which carries energy in its oscillating electric and magnetic fields.

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These two views are completely equivalent and are reconciled to one another in quantum field theory see wave-particle duality. EM radiation can have various frequencies. The bands of frequency present in a given EM signal may be sharply defined, as is seen in atomic spectra , or may be broad, as in blackbody radiation.

In the photon picture, the energy carried by each photon is proportional to its frequency. In the wave picture, the energy of a monochromatic wave is proportional to its intensity.


This implies that if two EM waves have the same intensity, but different frequencies, the one with the higher frequency "contains" fewer photons, since each photon is more energetic. When EM waves are absorbed by an object, the energy of the waves is converted to heat or converted to electricity in case of a photoelectric material. This is a very familiar effect, since sunlight warms surfaces that it irradiates. Often this phenomenon is associated particularly with infrared radiation, but any kind of electromagnetic radiation will warm an object that absorbs it.

EM waves can also be reflected or scattered , in which case their energy is redirected or redistributed as well. Radiant energy is one of the mechanisms by which energy can enter or leave an open system. In geophysics , most atmospheric gases, including the greenhouse gases , allow the Sun's short-wavelength radiant energy to pass through to the Earth's surface, heating the ground and oceans.

The absorbed solar energy is partly re-emitted as longer wavelength radiation chiefly infrared radiation , some of which is absorbed by the atmospheric greenhouse gases. Radiant energy is produced in the sun as a result of nuclear fusion. Radiant energy is used for radiant heating. The heat energy is emitted from a warm element floor, wall, overhead panel and warms people and other objects in rooms rather than directly heating the air.

Because of this, the air temperature may be lower than in a conventionally heated building, even though the room appears just as comfortable. Various other applications of radiant energy have been devised. Many of these applications involve a source of radiant energy and a detector that responds to that radiation and provides a signal representing some characteristic of the radiation. Radiant energy detectors produce responses to incident radiant energy either as an increase or decrease in electric potential or current flow or some other perceivable change, such as exposure of photographic film.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. SI radiometry units v t e. Princeton University Press. Retrieved 9 March New Scientist : Christopherson, Elemental Geosystems , Fourth Edition. Prentice Hall, Pages Miller, The Earth as a System. March Lang, Kenneth R.

Astrophysical Formulae. Berlin: Springer. Mischler, Georg Lighting Design Knowledgebase. Retrieved 29 Oct Elion, Glenn R. Electro-Optics Handbook. New York, McGraw-Hill, Whittaker, E. Apr The Mathematical Gazette. The Mathematical Association.

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