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Cooled IR detectors for remote sensing and hyperspectral imaging

Recent advancements in cooled IR detector technology have led to the rapid development of many IR remote sensing instruments for a wide variety of environmental applications, including hyperspectral remote sensing, space imaging and surveillance. Because of the extraordinarily high sensitivity of cryogenically cooled detectors, IR systems have been developed for imaging in a variety of spectral bands with wavelengths up to 25µm.

© Laurin Publishing. Reprinted from the December 2010 issue of Photonics Spectra

LWIR or MWIR infrared imaging:  Which is best for your application?


Many commercial imaging applications require the use of infrared cameras having cooled detectors because of their far superior sensitivity, spectral behavior, response time and frame rate. Proper selection of the optimal infrared band can be tricky. These detectors can be optimized to operate in different spectral bands as a result of the dewar window and cold filter transmission characteristics or the active temperature of the FPA.

High speed infrared cameras enable demanding thermal imaging applications

Recent developments in cooled mercury cadmium telluride (MCT or HgCdTe) infrared detector technology have made possible the development of high performance infrared cameras for use in a wide variety of demanding thermal imaging applications. These infrared cameras are now available with spectral sensitivity in a wide range of bands. Camera features now include high frame rate imaging, adjustable exposure time and event triggering enabling the capture of temporal thermal events. These performance capabilities and camera features enable a wide range of thermal imaging applications that were previously not possible.

High-speed IR camera captures images without blur:  Results show benefits of LWIR spectral band

Infrared (IR) cameras can image fast-moving objects and measure the temperature of any point on an object without the errors associated with motion blur. One application is in the study of the thermal characteristics of tires in motion. Using a high-speed IR camera to observe tires running on a dynamometer at speeds in excess of 150 mph, researchers can capture detailed temperature data during dynamic testing to simulate turning and braking loads.

High-performance MCT sensors for
demanding applications

Recent MCT Technology Enhancements Yield Improved Long-wave Infrared Imaging Performance for R&D Applications. There are a growing number of infrared photovoltaic 2D focal plane array (FPA) detectors commercially available for integration into high performance infrared cameras. Proper selection of sensor technology depends on the application and systems requirements.

Measuring cold object temperatures
using infrared cameras

For cold targets a LWIR or VLWIR camera is superior to MWIR. Data and calculations in support of this position are given in this paper.

Thermal Imaging:  12 steps toward better electrical inspection

If you’re having unscheduled electrical outages for any reason, the chances are good that you need to look at how to improve your infrared inspection program. Thermal imaging is much less about what kind of infrared camera you use than it is about using the infrared camera you have well.

Here are twelve steps, some simple and others less so, that will help improve the results you are getting from this remarkable technology.

Understanding infrared camera thermal
image quality

You’ve no doubt purchased a digital camera sometime over the past few years to replace your old film camera. Often thermal camera brochures offer list specification that you, as a user, may never be able to confirm or even understand. This paper’s objective is to help you simplify your understanding of how image quality is determined.

Covered are three topics that directly influence thermal image quality: pixel resolution, thermal sensitivity, and non-uniformity correction. A number of related topics are discussed as well.

Uncooled Infrared Imaging:  Higher performance, lower costs

Uncooled infrared detectors have realized many significant technology advances, improved reliability, better manufacturability and lower costs. This has fueled the availability of a wide variety of infrared cameras based on those detectors. Low cost portable and fixed infrared cameras as well as high performance systems have been introduced for a variety of thermal imaging applications. As a result of the new price points and better overall performance, traditional markets for infrared cameras have exploded while new markets have been created that benefit from the steady improvements in performance.

This article reviews how uncooled detectors have matured into the mainstream markets for infrared imaging. Significant performance improvements are described such as sensitivity, resolution, thermal time constant and uniformity as well as the benefits to system complexity and cost. Infrared camera cores are now available that deliver the performance and versatility required from OEMs to meet specific requirements. Primary applications for thermal imaging cameras are also reviewed.

Secrets to a successful thermal imaging-based building energy audit

Today, thermal imaging has become an important inspection tool for identifying heat loss, energy leaks and underlying factors that are critical to the energy usage in a commercial building or home.

This white paper reviews fundamentals of an energy audit, the different types of infrared cameras that can be used in energy audits, the use of a blower door to improve infrared inspections, thermal behavior of windows and reporting.

Testing building envelope systems using infrared thermal imaging

The structures we live and work in are susceptible to quality and performance problems during construction and maintenance that can impact performance and may, in some cases, render them dangerous. Regardless of the building type involved, infrared thermography can provide remarkable, nondestructive information about construction details and building performance.

This paper discusses the numerous applications for thermal imaging technology currently being used to inspect building envelopes. These include validation of structural details, verification of energy performance (conduction and air leakage), location of moisture intrusion, and the identification of structural and system degradation of roofs and facades. Examples will be given for each application and the basic conditions required will be discussed.

Locating levels in tanks and silos using infrared thermal imaging

Infrared thermal imaging is a powerful tool for locating and verifying levels in tanks and silos. Other level indication instruments are often not sufficiently reliable in many situations, or positive verification of the instrumentation readings is required. When properly used, thermal imaging can reveal not only the liquid/gas interface, but also sludge buildup and floating materials such as waxes and foams. Similar techniques can be used to locate levels and bridging problems in silos containing fluidized solids.

This paper discusses the parameters and limitations that must be addressed, shows techniques that can be employed, and illustrates the discussions with numerous thermal images.

Guidelines for performing infrared inspections of motor control centers

Whether it's your first infrared inspection or you're a veteran with hundreds of surveys under your belt, it is important to realize that in order to successfully identify and analyze thermal anomalies, it is beneficial to understand the operation of the equipment under inspection.

Download this white paper to learn about the recommended guidelines for inspecting the motor control center (MCC). The paper describes how to identify key components and potential problem areas and illustrates both common and not-so-common thermal anomalies.

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New Range, Resolution and FOV Calculator

Determine the optimum camera and lens combination for your application. Select from a range of infrared cameras characterized by pixel pitch (e.g. 15µm), array size (e.g. 640x512) and objective lens focal length. The Calculator has the following features:

  • Angular Field of View
  • Pixel Field of View (also known as Instantaneous Field of View)
  • Image Dimensional Field of View (projected image size at a specified range)
  • Pixel Dimensional Field of View (projected pixel size at a specified range)
  • Object Detection Range (maximum range for detection, recognition or identification of objects having specified size)

Click here to try the Calculator!  >>

Calculate Your Camera's Measurement Spot Size

Our Spot Size Calculator helps determine measurement spot size for different camera specifications and viewing situations.

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Infrared Training
Learn about our Level I, II and III Training Programs!

Infrared Training is a valuable resource for assuring consistent, professional results from your thermographic inspection program. Participate in our quality training programs where you will achieve qualifying experience and ongoing support. The result will help assure that you have a successful themography program that you can count on for years to come.

Contact us to get more information on Training Programs
for Infrared Camera Operators!

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Sofradir EC (formerly Electrophysics) Thermal Imaging Cameras
SOFRADIR EC THERMAL IMAGING CAMERAS  (formerly Electrophysics Thermal Imaging Cameras)
373 US Hwy 46W  Fairfield, NJ 07004 USA  |  Phone: 973-882-0211  |  Fax: 973-882-0997  |