Blackbody Radiation

The electromagnetic radiation emitted by an ideal black body; it is the theoretical maximum amount of radiant energy of all wavelengths which can be emitted by a body at a given temperature.

The spectral distribution of black-body radiation is described by Planck law and the related radiation laws. If a very tiny opening is made into an otherwise completely enclosed space (hohlraum), the radiation passing out through this hole when the walls of the enclosure have come to thermal equilibrium at some temperature will closely approximate ideal black-body radiation for that temperature.

Physicists had difficulty explaining it until Planck introduced his quantum of action.

See also: Blackbody, Hohlraum, Kirchoff, Gustav, Planck Radiation Law, Rayleigh-Jeans Law, Ultraviolet Catastrophe.

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Subjects: Physics