What are Microwaves? What are they used for?

Electromagnetic Spectrum has all the ranges of electromagnetic radiation. Radiation is the energy that travels and spreads out, as it propagates. Of all the waves, Microwaves are a special type of electromagnetic radiation that is used in many ways from cooking simple popcorn to study the nearby galaxies !!!


There are a wide variety of applications for Microwaves, which are not possible for other radiations. They are:

Wireless Communications

  • For long distance telephone calls

  • Bluetooth

  • WiMAX operations

  • In Outdoor broadcasting transmissions

  • In broadcast auxiliary services

  • Remote pickup unit

  • Studio/transmitter link

  • Direct broadcast satellite (DBS)

  • Personal communication systems (PCSs)

  • Wireless local area networks (WLANs)

  • Cellular video systems (CV)

  • Automobile collision avoidance system


  • Fast jitter-free switches

  • Phase shifters

  • HF Generation

  • Tuning elements

  • ECM/ECCM (Electronic countermeasure) systems

  • Spread spectrum systems

Commercial Uses

  • Burglar alarms

  • Garage door openers

  • Police speed detectors

  • Identification by non-contact methods

  • Cell phones, Pagers, Wireless LANs

  • Satellite television, XM Radio

  • Motion detectors

  • Remote sensing


  • Global Navigation Satellite systems use microwaves.

  • Global positioning system GPS

Military and Radar

  • Radar uses microwaves for detection of range and speed of the target.

  • SONAR applications

  • Air traffic control

  • Weather forecasting

  • Navigation of ships

  • For Minesweeping applications

  • Speed limit enforcement

  • Military uses microwave frequencies for communications and for the above-mentioned applications.

Research Applications

  • Atomic resonances

  • Nuclear resonances

Radio Astronomy

  • Cosmic microwave background radiation can be marked.

  • Powerful waves in the universe can be detected.

  • Many radiations in the universe and earth’s atmosphere are detected.

Food Industry

  • Microwave ovens used for reheating and cooking

  • Food processing applications

  • Pre-heating applications

  • Pre-cooking

  • Roasting food grains/beans

  • Drying potato chips

  • Moisture levelling

  • Absorbs water molecules

Industrial Uses

  • Vulcanizing Rubber

  • Analytical chemistry applications

  • Drying and reactions processes made short

  • Processing ceramics

  • Polymer matrix

  • Surface modification

  • Chemical vapor processing

  • Powder processing

  • Sterilizing pharmaceuticals

  • Chemical synthesis

  • Waste remediation

  • Power transmission

  • Tunnel boring

  • Breaking rock/concrete

  • Breaking up coal seams

  • Curing of cement

  • RF Lighting

  • Infusion reactors

  • Inactive denial systems

Semiconductor Processing Techniques

  • Reactive ion etching

  • Chemical vapor deposition


  • Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR or ESR) spectroscopy

  • To know about unpaired electrons in chemicals

  • To know the free radicals in materials

  • Used in electron chemistry

Medical Applications

  • Monitoring heartbeat

  • Lung water detection

  • Tumor detection

  • Regional hyperthermia

  • Therapeutic applications

  • Local heating

  • Angioplasty

  • Microwave tomography

  • Microwave Acoustic imaging

The Microwaves are extensively used nowadays.

Updated on: 30-Jul-2019


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