What Is Infrared Used For?

infrared-used Credit: Cultura Science/Joseph Giacomin/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

Infrared is used for keeping things warm, reading information and checking heat. The uses for infrared technology are so diverse because infrared not only detects heat but produces heat in objects that it strikes.

Infrared is used in lamps for purposes that include helping to dry ink, paint or wallpaper. Restaurant workers often use infrared lamps to keep food warm while it waits in the kitchen, before it is served to the customers. Many businesses use infrared lamps outside during colder seasons to help keep customers warm. This heat can also be used as part of a therapeutic treatment. Infrared lasers are also used to read information that has been stored on compact discs.

Since all warm objects give off infrared radiation, infrared radiation can be used to help detect sources of heat, such as finding sources of thermal pollution in water. Infrared can also be used for inspecting a building's heat insulation. Scientists also use infrared to detect how vegetables and other natural resources are distributed across the entire planet. Chemists use infrared to help determined the composition and molecular structure of particular objects, while doctors use infrared to find areas of the body that are diseased and, therefore, warmer than usual.