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The portion of the electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from 1 mm and 1 m and with frequencies of 1 gigahertz to 1 terahertz. Microwaves were first produced in 1886 by Hertz, but they weren't widely used the second half of the 20th century, when microwave generators, such as the klystron and magnetron, were developed. Microwaves are primarily used to transmit high-speed telecommunication signals between satellites and Earth, e.g., television, and cell phone. Microwaves are also used for heating food and for disinfecting materials. They are absorbed by water and fat in foodstuffs and produce heat from the inside. The heating effect of microwaves destroys living tissue when the temperature of the tissue exceeds 43° C (109° F).

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Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "microwave" Encyclopædia Britannica [Accessed August 30, 2002].