Infrared Imaging Explained

If you’ve wondered what infrared imaging is all about, then you’re probably someone who loves physics a lot. Nevertheless, this is a method of capturing IR images not visible to the eye which are then going to be converted into images visible to the human eye. As humans, we can only see the visible light, but this is only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. But what is this spectrum, you ask?

Well, it’s a special scale that classifies the various forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as radio waves, microwaves, infrared rays and so forth. So if you’d like to see in infrared light, then you’ll need to use infrared cameras and imagers since they feature special sensors which don’t operate by using visible light.

Any object or organism that has a temperature above absolute zero will be able to produce infrared radiation. However, when temperature increases, this also causes the molecular and atomic activity to increase which means that more thermal radiation or heat will be produced. This in turn is going to emit more infrared radiation.

Infrared radiation that is reflected from or emitted by warm objects can be easily picked up by long-wave thermal infrared imagers. This is because the imagers feature lenses that can have as much as 7000 sensors which can easily convert IR energy into electrical signals which are then going to finally be converted into a visible image.

What’s special about infrared light is its ability of penetrating areas which visible light could never be able to, allowing it to reveal obscure objects. As one can imagine, this makes it very useful in a lot of applications and it’s generally used by the military in order to produce gun sights, binoculars and other infrared imaging devices.

Firefighters, police and many other agencies can use these imagers to rescue individuals who are lost at sea, lost in the woods, to catch criminals and so forth. As a technician using infrared imagers, you can easily located under-heated or overheated parts in order to eliminate leaking chemicals that can lead to potential hazards.

Lastly, if you’re an archaeologist, you can use these imagers in order to monitor archaeological sites and examine artifacts, while if you’re a wildlife researcher, you can use them for studying warm-blooded animals in their natural habitats. There are currently many luxury cars, planes and ships that use infrared images, but they’re also used in astronomy telescopes and space satellites for research.

Infrared Imaging Bascis

Infrared Imaging, Infrared Thermography, and Thermal Imaging refer to a process of using thermographic cameras to produce images by detecting radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. That range is roughly between 900-14000 nanometers.

And here is another way to put this: all types of objects emit infrared light / energy in a form of heat. Because each of the objects / its components as well as parts of our body have slightly different temperature an infrared camera sensor detects those temperature variations and “paints” an image based on those readings. Because the output image is based on radiation, dark or bright environment does not affect the image.