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Radio frequency (RF) radiation is a subset of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 100km to 1mm, which is a frequency of 3 KHz to 300 GHz,[1] respectively. This range of electromagnetic radiation constitutes the radio spectrum and corresponds to the frequency of alternating current electrical signals used to produce and detect radio waves. RF can refer to electromagnetic oscillations in either electrical circuits or radiation through air and space. Like other subsets of electromagnetic radiation, RF travels at the speed of light.

Contents

Radio communication

In order to receive radio signals, for instance from AM/FM radio stations, a radio antenna must be used. However, since the antenna will pick up thousands of radio signals at a time, a radio tuner is necessary to tune in to a particular frequency (or frequency range).[2] This is typically done via a resonator (in its simplest form, a circuit with a capacitor and an inductor). The resonator is configured to resonate at a particular frequency (or frequency band), thus amplifying sine waves at that radio frequency, while ignoring other sine waves. Usually, either the inductor or the capacitor of the resonator is adjustable, allowing the user to change the frequency at which it resonates.[3]

Special properties of RF electrical signals

Electrical currents that oscillate at RF have special properties not shared by direct current signals. One such property is the ease with which they can ionize air to create a conductive path through air. This property is exploited by 'high frequency' units used in electric arc welding, although strictly speaking these machines do not typically employ frequencies within the HF band. Another special property is that RF current cannot penetrate deeply into electrical conductors but flows along the surface of conductors; this is known as the skin effect. Another property is the ability to appear to flow through paths that contain insulating material, like the dielectric insulator of a capacitor. The degree of effect of these properties depends on the frequency of the signals.

Frequencies

See Radio spectrum

In medicine

Radio frequency (RF) energy has been used in medical treatments for over 75 years[4] generally for minimally invasive surgeries, using Radiofrequency ablation, and coagulation, including the treatment of sleep apnea.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Stan Gibilisco (2002). Physics Demystified. McGraw-Hill. p. 474. ISBN 0071382011. 
  2. ^ Brain, Marshall (2000-12-07). "How Radio Works". HowStuffWorks.com. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/radio8.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  3. ^ Brain, Marshall (2000-12-08). "How Oscillators Work". HowStuffWorks.com. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/oscillator3.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  4. ^ Ruey J. Sung and Michael R. Lauer (2000). Fundamental approaches to the management of cardiac arrhythmias. Springer. p. 153. ISBN 9780792365594. http://books.google.com/books?id=S1fWhl2c5zIC&pg=PA153&dq=rf+coagulation+75-years&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=IIhuSpfBJ6aqlQT-n7nmDg. 
  5. ^ Melvin A. Shiffman, Sid J. Mirrafati, Samuel M. Lam and Chelso G. Cueteaux (2007). Simplified Facial Rejuvenation. Springer. p. 157. ISBN 9783540710967. http://books.google.com/books?id=w1fQK21WK28C&pg=RA1-PA157&dq=rf+coagulation+sleep-apnea&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=ZYduSumzKJCckgT_-bHdDg. 

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