The Infrared Science Behind Night Vision Displays

Did you know that the image intensifier tubes in a night vision imaging system (NVIS) produce a better image of a scene with low light conditions? Like the military’s night-vision equipment, the latest automotive display systems register images based on body heat, producing images that resemble a negative photo.

The way night vision works is very much dependant on the technology it uses. To begin with, the first step is an image enhancement. Which means it collects the little amounts of available light and amplifies it to a point where it can be observed. This includes the entire infrared light spectrum. Then is thermal imaging. This means that it captures the upper portion of the infrared light spectrum emitted as heat by objects. A hot object emits more light than cooler objects.

What is infrared light?

You can divide infrared into three different categories.

  • Near-infrared
  • Mid-infrared
  • Far-infrared

The difference between them is the level of energy in their wavelengths. Shorter wavelengths have higher levels of energy. A near-IR is what humans can see because it is made of the shortest wavelength. And, far-IR could be up to 30 microns, and an object emits it instead of reflecting it. On the infrared spectrum, violet contains the most energy, and red has the least amount.

The military commonly uses applications and devices that use night-vision technology for hunting, security and surveillance, navigations, and finding hidden objects. There are three main types of equipment that uses night-vision technology:

Scopes: A scope is an eyepiece mounted on top of a weapon which allows the person using the weapon to be able to get an enhanced look at the object and also be able to return to normal viewing conditions.

Goggles: A goggle is worn over the head, and it has binoculars installed in it with a single or a stereo lens. These are best if you use them for constant viewings, such as traveling through a dark area.

Cameras: A camera is often used in a location where it can be mounted and doesn’t need a lot of moving. It then sends these images to a monitor for you to view them.

If you are looking to learn more about infrared and night vision equipment and how they work together; you can reach out to Iluminar, and our team of experts will help you with your queries. Call us at 281-438-3500.

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