Difference Between Emission and Radiation (With Table)

Emission and Radiation are the two Physics terminology majority used in space science but they are also a part of our daily life as well. Sun is the source of heat energy that we receive throughout the day by the medium of Radiations and Emissions of oxygen gas from trees gives us life every day. These are two steps of the energy distribution process in our surroundings.

Emission vs Radiation

The main difference between Emission and Radiation is that Emission is the way to form and spread any rays or gaseous substance without any control and on the other hand Radiation is the method of carrying electromagnetic rays which are already emitted through their sources. Radiation is the secondary function of the state of Emission.

The term Emission is used for an uncontrollable release of any substance in the atmosphere either through gas or waves. It is an act of producing one stored substance in infinite chunks that can be controlled through any preventive measure only. Pollution of petrol smog from motor vehicles is a common example of Emission. 

The term Radiation is referred to as energy distribution in the atmosphere by way of magnetic waves. Radiation is also considered as a medium through which rays travel in-universe. In some cases, Radiation also travels through substances. Ionized and Non-ionized are the 2 forms of Radiation to carry energy.

Comparison Table Between Emission and Radiation

Parameters of Comparison




In general terms, Emission denotes the release of something in an unstructured way.

Radiation is the spreading of radioactive waves or any atomic particles in the atmosphere. 


Emission can be through the source of Motor Vehicles, Big machinery, or any radioactive substance.

Radiation can be through the source of a Chemical laboratory or Thunderstorm etc. 


The procedure of Emission is the abnormal supply of some harmful substances.

The procedure of Radiation is the emission of harmful waves in space or through an electromagnet object.


Radiation is one of the types of Emission and it includes Gas Emission too. 

Several types of Radiations include X-Ray, Alpha, Beta, Gamma Radiation.


Emission can be controlled through Engine design and Machinery protection shield. 

Controlling Measures are Distance from the radiation source, Minimal uses of electromagnetic devices, and Preventive Sheilds 

What is Emission?

Emission varies from substance to substance and in layman’s language, it is a unique way of spreading or formation in the atmosphere. When Emission occurs in chemical compounds in chemistry labs, it is usually through Gaseous substances. Gas Emission mostly happens in the case of motor vehicles, generators, plants, and machinery. Apart from a few, maximum gases are pollutants in nature that are emitted through the industry. 

Following are some gases that are released through manufacturing activity or prominent for pollution emission; Nitrogen, Sulfur-oxide, Volatile organic gas, Carbon monoxide, etc. 

Emission of magnetic waves occurs through the following process: The form of Emission is mainly in the state of photons. The electric field generally supplies subatomic particles that are elevated through the charge created by an electromagnetic field. The mentioned emission of atomic particles causes radio frequency movement. 

Particles released through the Emission process are namely Alpha, Beta, Gama. The energy passing through these elements contains very little or Zero mass. This process of Emission and formation of atomic energy is also used during war situations. 

Emission of the spectrum or light spectrum emission contains colors and the lines of light can be seen without any equipment. The emission spectrum is useful to derive the composition of any object. 

What is Radiation?

Radiation is the term used in the place where specific energy is transported through a channel to form the output. For diagnosis of X-Ray images, electromagnetic radiations are useful to display clear images inside human bodies. These short wavelengths and gamma rays if exposed to more than the required limit can cause harm to nature. Radiation is very common in laser surgery of the human body as a tool for the operation of any human part without any cut or damage. Non-Ionizing Radiations are less harmful in comparison to Ionized Radiation. 

Every type of Radiation has some fundamental properties through which the emission of waves takes place. Radiation medium is very prominent in weather forecasting, television remotes, radars, CT scans, MRI, etc. Radioactive materials formed through atoms of Radiation are part of our atmosphere. Radiation in our universe is called Cosmic Radiation.

The speed of Radiation is very fast, almost equal to the speed of light from space to earth. By breaking chemical bonds in the human body it affects us in several ways. Governments use the Radiation process in nuclear reactors. Radiation can move through an object and remains in it for a while. The quantity of Radiation supplied in an object can be measured through stored particles called absorbed dose. 

Main Differences Between Emission and Radiation

  1. Measured: Emission is measured through dynamometers and Radiation is measured through Wavelength. 
  2. Effects: Emission of gases affects the lungs and pollutes the environment whereas Radiation gradually damages the human body like patches on the skin.
  3. Concept: Emission is the source of distribution whereas Radiation is the medium of distribution in the case of spreading elements. 
  4. Kinds: Emission has 2 types simultaneous or spontaneous and Radiation can be ionized or non-ionized.
  5. Example: Natural release of carbon-di-oxide gas in night through Trees and Ultra Virus rays from Sun is the example of Emission and Radiation respectively..


Emission can be in the form of rays, waves, gases, or particles for distribution. When Emission occurs in the way of magnetic waves the form opted by the Emission process is photons. Radiation through radioactive waves is harmful to the human body. In routine life, we suffer radioactive waves from mobile phones that gradually damage our memory cells. 

The rays from Mobile phones and Tablets travel through microwave rage that initially harms the skin tissue by making them dry. The consequences of these harmful radiofrequency waves lead to tumors. 

Sun rays on one side give us vitamin D and the emission of harmful UV rays that are also called solar radiation may cause damage to nature. 


  1. https://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.1777371?journalCode=apl
  2. https://journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.140.A1051