Microwave Communication (Encyclopedia of Science)
A microwave is an electromagnetic wave with a very short wavelength, between .039 inches (1 millimeter) and 1 foot (30 centimeters). Within the electromagnetic spectrum, microwaves can be found between radio waves and shorter infrared waves. Their short wavelengths make microwaves ideal for use in radio and television broadcasting. They can transmit along a vast range of frequencies without causing signal interference or overlap.
Microwave technology was developed during World War II (19395) in connection with secret military radar research. Today, microwaves are used primarily in microwave ovens and communications. A microwave communications circuit can transmit any type of information as efficiently as telephone wires.
The most popular devices for generating microwaves are magnetrons and klystrons. They produce microwaves of low power and require the use of an amplification device, such as a maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Like radio waves, microwaves can be modulated for communication purposes. However, they offer 100 times more useful frequencies than radio.
Microwaves can be easily broadcast and received via aerial antennas. Unlike radio waves, microwave signals can be focused by antennas just as a searchlight concentrates light into a narrow beam. Signals are transmitted directly from a source to a receiver...
(The entire section is 524 words.)
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