Figures Under Review!

I built my first successful scratch-made CO2 laser in 2010. Since that time, I came to appreciate the unique and interesting properties of this laser wavelength. The laser output was absorbed by materials that were transparent to visible light. One interesting observation was how the unfocused beam would quickly evaporate water from a soaked section of paperboard. It was this observation that made me think about the wavelength and its effects upon water in particular, and how a powerful source of this wavelength might be used to melt ice.

I have been intrigued by lasers, light and infrared since I was in my early teens. The cameras of my teens used film, and there was no cheap or convenient way to visualize the near infrared that emanated from LED sources. I had yet to discover (at that time) the far and mid infrared, or the practical and theoretical differences between infrared wavelength emission as it related to temperature. What can be discovered today, with Google and the click of a mouse for free, was once buried in college textbooks and University libraries, and accessed through expensive courses.

My interests and imagination always led to ideas. Some of my ideas were hypothetical. Such is the idea that led to this page. This page was constructed to communicate a thought experiment regarding an idea I knew would not work. The thought experiment however was intended to demonstrate to me (and others) how and why it was so impractical.

According to [1] Wien's Displacement Law, the blackbody radiation curve for different temperatures will peak at different wavelengths that are inversely proportional to the temperature. As objects become hotter therefore, the peak emission of this radiation becomes higher in frequency. Examples of Wien's Displacement Law are when the electrical heating elements on a stove top become red hot when they are switched onto their highest setting, and a piece of metal becomes red hot when heated by a flame - before something becomes hot enough to emit visible red light, it emits invisible infrared radiation. In the case of an incandescent light bulb filament, the tungsten filament becomes so hot that it emits the invisible infrared radiation in addition to all of the colors in the visible electromagnetic spectrum (visible light).