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General Physics Science Fair Project

Detecting Infrared Light

Detecting Infrared Light | Science Fair Projects | STEM Projects
Discover the invisible light called infrared with this experiment! Using a prism and thermometers, measure the temperature of different colors of light. Sir William Herschel found that the temperature increased as he went from blue to red, and even higher past the red.


The hypothesis is that infrared light will have a higher temperature than visible light.

Method & Materials

You will need to blacken the bulbs of the thermometers, place a white piece of paper at the bottom of a cardboard box, rotate the prism until a good wide spectrum appears on the white paper, and place the thermometers in the spectrum.
You will need an equilateral glass prism, 3 alcohol thermometers, scotch tape, a white piece of paper, and a south facing window sill or a box.


This experiment showed that the dark area had a much higher temperature than the areas which were in regions of light. This discovery was important because it led to the realization that there are many other types of light that we cannot see and the visible colors are only a very small part of the entire range of light which we call the electromagnetic spectrum.

Why do this project?

This science project is interesting and unique because it allows students to explore the invisible light called infrared and measure its temperature.

Also Consider

Experiment variations to consider include changing the width of the spectrum, which depends on time of day, and the distance from the prism, which is proportional to the height of the box.

Full project details

You can find additional information and details for this science fair project here. Have fun exploring!

Related video

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