Irradiation is the process by which an item is exposed to radiation. The exposure can be intentional, sometimes to serve a specific purpose, or it can be accidental. In common usage the term refers specifically to ionizing radiation, and to a level of radiation that will serve that specific purpose, rather than radiation exposure to normal levels of background radiation or abnormal levels of radiation due to accidental exposure. This term also applies to 'non-ionizing radiation as microwaves or to low frequency (50/60 Hz power supply), high frequency (as cellular phones, radio and TV transmissions).



If administered at appropriate levels, all of these forms of radiation can be used to sterilize objects, a technique used in the production of medical instruments and disposables, such as syringes as well as in the disinfestation and sterilization of food. Small doses of ionizing radiation (electron beam processing, X-rays and gamma rays) [cite web |url= |title=Food Standards Agency - Irradiated food |accessdate=2008-01-26 |format= |work=] may be used to kill bacteria in food, or other organic material, including blood. Irradiation also includes (by the principle) microwave heating.


It is also used in cancer therapy.

Industrial chemistry

Irradiation can furthermore be used in cross-linking of plastics or to improve material qualities of semi-precious stones. Due to its efficiency, electron beam processing is often used in the irradiation treatment of polymer-based products to improve the mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties, and often adding unique properties. Cross-linked polyethylene pipe (PEX), high-temperature products such as tubing and gaskets, wire and cable jacket curing, curing of composite materials, and crosslinking of tires are a few examples. Irradiation is also employed to prevent sprouting of certain cereals, onions, potatoes and garlic. [Bly, J.H.; Electron Beam Processing. Yardley, PA: International Information Associates, 1988.]


During the 2001 anthrax attacks, the US Postal Service irradiated mail to protect members of the US government and other possible targets. This can be of some concern to people, including artists; according to the ART in Embassies programme "incoming mail is irradiated, and the process destroys slides, transparencies and disks." []

ilver Dimes

Furthermore, irradiated silver dimes were sold at the American Museum of Atomic Energy, Oakridge, TN. The dimes, Mercury and Roosevelt, were exposed to radiation. The person had the opportunity to buy the encased coins at the museum. Also, the coins were sold at the New York World's Fair, 1964-1965.


ee also


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  • irradiation — [ iradjasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1390; bas lat. irradiatio I ♦ 1 ♦ Émission de rayons lumineux, et par ext. Émission de radiations, visibles ou invisibles. ⇒ rayonnement. L irradiation du soleil à travers les nuages. 2 ♦ (1694) Didact. Mouvement qui part d …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • irradiation — ir*ra di*a tion ([i^]r*r[=a] d[i^]*[=a] sh[u^]n), n. [Cf. F. irradiation.] [1913 Webster] 1. Act of irradiating, or state of being irradiated; as, irradiation of foods with X rays can preserve their freshness by killing the bacteria that cause… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • irradiation — Irradiation. s. f. Effusion, emission des rayons d un corps lumineux. Il n a d usage que dans le dogmatique. Dés que le Soleil se leve il se fait une irradiation dans tout l hemisphere. On appelle fig. Irradiation, L espanchement qui se fait des… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Irradĭation — (lat., »Einstrahlung«), eine optische Täuschung, die darin besteht, daß helle Gegenstände auf dunklem Grunde größer und dunkle Gegenstände auf hellem Grunde kleiner erscheinen, als sie wirklich sind. Man beobachtet die I. besonders auffällig an… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Irradiation — Irradiation, eine optische Täuschung, durch welche helle Bilder auf dunkelm Grunde größer erscheinen als sie sind. Eine in gleichgroße schwarze und weiße Quadrate eingeteilte Fläche läßt letztere über erstere etwas übergreifend erscheinen. Die… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • irradiation — (n.) 1580s, from Fr. irradiation, from L. *irradiationem, noun of action from pp. stem of irradiare (see IRRADIATE (Cf. irradiate)). Originally of light (literally and figuratively); of X rays, etc., from 1901 …   Etymology dictionary

  • irradiation — irradiation. См. облучение. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Irradiation — Irradiation. См. Облучение. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • Irradiation — (v. lat.), 1) das Phänomen, vermöge dessen ein leuchtender Gegenstand, von einem dunkeln Raume umgeben, vergrößert erscheint. Sie ist z.B. die Ursache, daß die Sichel des Mondes kurz vor od. nach dem Neumond, wenn die übrige Scheibe durch den… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Irradiation — (lat.), Bestrahlung, Erleuchtung, Ausstrahlung; in der physiol. Optik die Erscheinung, daß helle Objekte auf dunklem Grunde größer erscheinen als gleichgroße dunkle Objekte auf hellem Grunde [Abb. 866], zum Teil wegen ungenauer Akkomodation des… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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