A brief history of infrared radiation and its discovery

A brief history of infrared radiation and its discovery

British astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered infrared radiation in 1800, leading to further research and development in the field. Over the years, infrared technology has seen numerous practical applications, including remote sensing, night vision devices, thermal imaging, and far-infrared heating. 2/101

In our previous article, we introduced you to the science behind far-infrared heating and its advantages in modern applications. Now, let’s delve into the fascinating history of infrared radiation and its discovery.

Infrared radiation, a segment of the electromagnetic spectrum, was first discovered in 1800 by British astronomer Sir William Herschel. Herschel conducted a series of experiments using a prism to refract sunlight, creating a spectrum of visible colours. Intrigued by the possibility of invisible radiation beyond the red end of the spectrum, Herschel used a thermometer to measure the temperature of each colour and found that the temperature increased from violet to red. Placing the thermometer just beyond the red light, he observed an even higher temperature, indicating the presence of invisible radiation, which he named “infrared.”

Herschel’s groundbreaking discovery sparked further research and development in the field of infrared technology. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, scientists began to explore the different types of infrared radiation (near, mid, and far-infrared) and their various applications. Notable advancements included the invention of the bolometer by Samuel Langley in 1878, which enabled more accurate detection of infrared radiation, and the development of the first infrared-sensitive photographic plates by Robert Williams Wood in 1903.

Over the years, infrared technology has seen numerous practical applications, such as in remote sensing, night vision devices, and thermal imaging. The use of far-infrared radiation for heating, as seen in Infracomfort’s heat panels, is just one of the many innovative ways that this invisible energy has been harnessed to improve our lives.

In the next article of our “Far-infrared 101: A Comprehensive Journey” series, we will explore the intriguing connections between far-infrared heating and ancient cultures. The article, titled “Far-infrared heating in ancient cultures: mythology and folklore,” will uncover the myths and beliefs surrounding the therapeutic and healing properties of far-infrared radiation, shedding light on how this modern technology is rooted in our ancestral past. Stay tuned for this fascinating journey into the world of far-infrared heating.