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A radiometer is a device for measuring the radiant flux (power) of electromagnetic radiation. Generally, the term radiometer denotes an infrared radiation detector, yet it also includes detectors operating on any electromagnetic wavelength.
A common example is the Crookes radiometer, an early-model device wherein a rotor (having vanes which are dark on one side, and light on the other) in a partial vacuum spins when exposed to light. A common myth (one originally held even by Crookes) is that the momentum of the absorbed light on the black faces makes the radiometer operate. If this were true however, the radiometer would spin away from the non-black faces, since the photons bouncing off those faces impart even more momentum than the photons absorbed on the black faces. Follow the link below for an in-depth explanation of the principles behind a Crookes radiometer.
The Nichols radiometer operates on a different principle and is more sensitive than the Crookes type.
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