The Difference Between Infrared and Visible Light

What is the difference between infrared and visible light ? Visible light is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be seen with the naked eye. Infrared, on the other hand, is invisible to the human eye and exists just beyond the visible spectrum. The differences between these 2 lights give them different applications. Find out more below:


Visible light has a wavelength that ranges from 380 nm – 750 nm on the electromagnetic spectrum while infrared light is just beyond it, ranging from 700 nm – 1 mm, the start of the non-visible portion of the spectrum. As a result, infrared cannot be seen except with special equipment like a security camera.

How to generate visible light

In the past and during the times of incandescent bulbs, visible lights were generated with films and colored lenses that corresponded to the color of light being generated. These days, visible lights are created using LEDs and they are more durable, more power efficient, and have a wider range of functions than incandescent bulbs.

How to create infrared light

Infrared light is also generated using LEDs but, in this case, the lighting units are designed to work within the non-visible spectrum. Often referred to as IR LEDs, these light sources emit a dark purple or blue light that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Their applications

Visible light is the common lighting method and we see it all around us. It is used in homes, work areas, factory floors, parking lots, loading docks, etc. They are also used as warning systems and to provide lighting for CCTV cameras in public places. The presence of floodlights warns intruders that their actions are being monitored.
Infrared light, however, is used when the intention is to monitor intruders covertly. Without a bright light to warn them about the presence of security cameras, intruders no longer feel the need to avoid surveillance, leaving them exposed to the IR-illuminated cameras.

Contact Iluminar Inc. for IR illuminators and visible lights for your security systems, We have a wide range of lighting solutions for your home and business needs.

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