I am currently studying quantum physics from Serwey-jewet. Where in the topic of Planck's law, infrared catastrophe is alternatively used for UV catastrophe while explaining how Plancks constant explains Rayleigh jeans law and UV catastrophe. Is it the same thing or it is an error,because as far as i know infrared catastrophe is an different phenomenon that occurs in photons.


1 Answer 1


It has to be an error. Rayleigh-Jeans theory fails at high frequency, but it's a good approximation for low frequency.

Infrared catastrophe has nothing to do with the black body radiation problem. Only at high frequencies it was evident that Rayleigh-Jeans model failed.

In the following plot you can see how at low frequencies (where infrared belongs), the agreement between Planck's model and Rayleigh-Jeans model is good

Image borrowed from here, you can read it too.

  • $\begingroup$ not clear, can infrared catastrophe alternatively used for uv catastrophe ? $\endgroup$
    – Rohan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ No, they are not related. $\endgroup$
    – iharob
    Jul 1, 2015 at 21:42

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