Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have X-ray vision? It’s natural to be curious about what’s happening behind the scenes, and short-wave infrared imaging can make it possible. Short-wave Infrared imaging ( SWIR ) cameras work because anything with a temperature above absolute zero gives off thermal emissions. They’re invisible to the naked eye but not to SWIR cameras. As a result, the hardware can provide a new perspective on everyday objects and even a glimpse into history.
Here, we look at how SWIR imaging can give anything a whole new look!
What Does SWIR Measure?
SWIR is one of the four wavebands in a specific segment of the infrared spectrum, spanning the 0.9 – 1.7μm wavelength range. It sits alongside near-infrared (NIR), medium-wave infrared (MWIR), and long-wave infrared (LWIR) in this range.
SWIR differs from the other bands because this type of radiation is relatively close to the visible spectrum. At the same time, SWIR equipment can also detect temperature.
How Does SWIR Work?
SWIR works because different materials will give off more IR radiation depending on their chemical properties. Unlike other wavebands in the same spectrum, such as medium-wave infrared (MWIR), the creation of SWIR images doesn’t rely on an object’s inherent emissivity.
Nevertheless, viewing SWIR relies on cameras that use cooled indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) focal plane arrays. These cameras can capture both the reflection and emission of IR radiation.
An InGaAs camera utilizes not only a specific chemical compound but also custom lenses. These lenses are designed and optimized specifically to capture the SWIR wavelength. They thrive on the fact that SWIR light has more in common with the visible spectrum than MWIR and LWIR. Those bands rely exclusively on an object’s thermal emissions.
What Is SWIR Used For?
SWIR cameras boast numerous practical applications, spanning industry, commerce, and even history and hobbyists. For example, it’s possible to use SWIR imaging to see bruising on an apple without removing the skin or the sketches on a painting added before the final layer was applied.
The technology has a home in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and security industries, among others. It can help businesses and medical scientists protect against counterfeiting. SWIR can also aid manufacturers in quality control. After all, while everything about an object may appear fine on the surface, SWIR affords quality testers a glimpse behind the curtain.
SWIR’s ability to combine visible and thermal properties also shines. It makes it ideal for astronomy and other reduced visibility scenarios. For example, a SWIR camera works just as well in the dark as in the light, and it can make the likes of silicon and natural fog completely transparent.
Discover More Technologies Revolutionizing Industry
SWIR technology makes for a clearer picture across all sorts of different industries. However, it’s not the only way manufacturers and quality assurance teams gain a different perspective on their processes.
It’s an exciting time in industrial technology. Check out the latest news and opinion on business technology, hardware, and software across the GuglY Tech Blog.