From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
An example of a Crookes radiometer. The vanes rotate when exposed to light, with faster rotation for more intense light, providing a quantitative measurement of electromagnetic radiation intensity.

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.

A microwave radiometer operates in the microwave wavelengths. The radiometer contains argon gas to enable it to rotate.

The MEMS radiometer, invented by Patrick Jankowiak, can operate on the principles of Nichols or Crooke and can operate over a wide spectrum of wavelength and particle energy levels.[1]

See also


  1. ^ [1] MEMS Radiometer United States Patent 7,495,199

External links