microwave, electromagnetic wave having a frequency range from 1,000 megahertz (MHz) to 300,000 MHz, corresponding to a wavelength range from 300 mm (about 12 in.) to 1 mm (about 0.04 in.). Like light waves, microwaves travel essentially in straight lines. They are used in radar, in communications links spanning moderate distances, and in other applications, such as microwave ovens. The equipment used to generate, process, and transmit microwaves is in many respects different from that used with lower frequency radio waves. See waveguide; magnetron.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.