Sources of Infrared Radiation
Sources of infrared radiation are initially all objects, whereby their temperature is the most important parameter (temperature radiator, Planck's law of radiation). This is used in contactless temperature measurement, pyrometry. Intensity and spectral distribution also depend on the surface of the object, which is described with the emission factor. An ideal temperature radiator has a spectrally constant emission factor of 1 and is referred to as a black radiator. Commercially available radiators are mostly not black at all, but have an electrically heated cavity that allows the radiation to escape through a perforated screen. Physically, such a cavity is almost ideally "black", since it does not reflect any radiation (cavity radiation). Technically, however, it is easier to manufacture and also has much more long-term stability than an ideal black surface. Light bulbs are also thermal radiators. However, their upper wavelength is limited to about 4 µm due to the absorption of the glass bulb. Other sources of infrared radiation are LEDs and lasers. Their spectrum is usually limited to a small range that depends on the semiconductor material.