What is radio frequency (RF)?

Radio frequency (RF), also known as electromagnetic fields (EMF) are common in all facets of modern life. Such fields with frequencies between about 100 kiloHertz (kHz) and 100 GigaHertz (GHz) [100,000 and 100,000,000,000 cycles per second] are known as radio frequency fields, or simply “RF.”  Microwave ovens operate in this range, as do cordless telephones, cellular telephones, CB radios, garage door openers, motion sensors, walkie-talkies, and numerous other devices.

RF should not be confused with extremely low frequency energy (ELF).  ELF fields are typically associated with household electric devices, such as electric blankets, and with overhead power lines.  These operate at a frequency of 60 Hertz – millions or billions of times lower in frequency than RF.  Neither should RF be confused with ultra-violet (UV) or X-ray energy, which is at frequencies millions or billions of times higher than RF energy.  Radiated energy near X-ray frequencies is called ionizing, because it has enough energy to remove electrons from individual atoms.  RF radiation is non-ionizing; that is, it does not by its nature change matter at the atomic level.