Visible spectrum

The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to (can be detected by) the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light. A typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm.[1] In terms of frequency, this corresponds to a band in the vicinity of 430Ц790 THz. A light-adapted eye generally has its maximum sensitivity at around 555 nm (540 THz), in the green region of the optical spectrum (see: luminosity function). The spectrum does not, however, contain all the colors that the human eyes and brain can distinguish. Unsaturated colors such as pink, or purple variations such as magenta, are absent, for example, because they can be made only by a mix of multiple wavelengths. Colors containing only one wavelength are also called pure colors. Visible wavelengths pass through the "optical window", the region of the electromagnetic spectrum which allows wavelengths to pass largely unattenuated through the Earth's atmosphere. An example of this phenomenon is that clean air scatters blue light more than red wavelengths, and so the midday sky appears blue. The optical window is also called the visible window because it overlaps the human visible response spectrum. The near infrared (NIR) window lies just out of the human vision, as well as the Medium Wavelength IR (MWIR) window and the Long Wavelength or Far Infrared (LWIR or FIR) window though other animals may experience them. Many species can see light with frequencies outside the "visible spectrum," which is defined in terms of human vision. Bees and many other insects can detect

ultraviolet light, which helps them find nectar in flowers. Plant species that depend on insect pollination may owe reproductive success to their appearance in ultraviolet light, rather than how colorful they appear to humans. Birds, too, can see into the ultraviolet (300Ц400 nm), and some have sex-dependent markings on their plumage that are visible only in the ultraviolet range. In 17th century, the explanations of the optical spectrum came from Isaac Newton, when he wrote his book Opticks. In 18th century, Goethe wrote about optical spectra in his Theory of Colours. Earlier observations had been made by Roger Bacon who recognized the visible spectrum in a glass of water, four centuries before Newton discovered that prisms could disassemble and reassemble white light.[4] Newton first used the word spectrum (Latin for "appearance" or "apparition") in print in 1671 in describing his experiments in optics. The word "spectrum" [Spektrum] was strictly used to designate a ghostly optical afterimage by Goethe in his Theory of Colors and Schopenhauer in On Vision and Colors. Newton observed that when a narrow beam of sunlight strikes the face of a glass prism at an angle, some is reflected and some of the beam passes into and through the glass, emerging as different colored bands. Newton hypothesized that light was made up of "corpuscles" (particles) of different colors, and that the different colors of light moved at different speeds in transparent matter, with red light moving more quickly in glass than violet. The result is that red light bends (refracted) less sharply than violet as it passes through the prism, creating a spectrum of colors.