Our portfolio of uncooled cameras for the midwave infrared (MWIR) spectrum includes line array cameras providing line rates of up to 300 lps (lines per second) at 1×256 pixels resolution as well as a series of larger and two-dimensional array high-speed MWIR imaging cameras enabling frame rates of up to 10,000 fps (frames per second) at full resolution – in uncooled operation.
The MWIR line arrays camera series is available in three variants: A plug-and-play industrial version with IP67-rated housing, USB 2.0 interface, industrial connector and CS-mount lens that is IP67-rated as well, an unhoused module ideal for OEMs who want to develop very cost-effective camera solutions based on this camera platform, and finally the bare focal plane array (FPA) sensor for integration in OEM circuits and subsystems.
The high-speed imaging MWIR camera series is either based on a 32x32 pixel focal plane array (again available as IP67-rated industrial version, an unhoused module or the bare FPA) or 128x128 pixels 16K focal plane array, integrated in two camera versions with maximum frame rates of 2,000 fps or 4,000 fps respectively – both at full resolution.
Within our portfolio of camera solutions, we provide also a broad range of CCD and CMOS cameras (0.3 to 16.9 MPixel, colour or B/W, enclosed or board-mounted, with window or windowless) for application mostly in the visible domains as well as specialized line camera series for x-ray applications.
Complementing the camera offerings, AMS Technologies carries a large portfolio of optics assemblies with a strong focus on thermal imaging, but also various kinds of illumination solutions ranging from LED spotlights and collimated light sources, SLED modules and light sources, LED drivers and controllers, broadband, ASE and supercontinuum light sources all the way to laser systems.
Infrared cameras (IR cameras) are similar to conventional cameras for the visible range of light, but are sensitive to infrared radiation and thus reproduce the IR radiation (wavelength range from approx. 700 nm to 1000 µm) as an image of the object.
Among other applications, infrared cameras are used for thermography, a non-contact imaging method that makes the heat radiation (mid-infrared) of an object or body visible, which is normally invisible to the human eye. With this technology, temperature distributions on surfaces or objects can be measured and displayed.
The pixels of an infrared camera therefore contain intensity information that can be displayed in greyscales, for example. The human eye, however, has difficulty resolving fine greyscales, which is why a false-colour representation is usually used for thermography, with, for example, blue colour tones for relatively low temperatures and colours changing from yellow to red to white with increasing temperature.
If the task is not the technical detection of temperature differences, but merely the vizualisation of image information in the dark or through visual shields (as in many military applications), the false-colour representation is usually not used, as the image object itself can be better recognized with greyscales.
Infrared cameras detect optical power differences in the infrared range, so objects with a significant difference in thermal radiation can lead to major measurement errors – the image from the infrared camera showing an apparent temperature difference. Users must therefore always view pictures based on infrared radiation measurements with caution.
Special lens assemblies for infrared light are used to project the image onto the electronic IR sensor of the cameras. The optical lenses within these assemblies are made of materials that are transparent to the infrared range of light, such as Chalcogenides, salts like Calcium Fluoride or Barium Fluoride, or crystalline materials like Germanium, Silicon or Zinc Selenide.
The geometric resolution of infrared cameras is usually significantly lower than that of cameras for visible light. Depending on the field of view of the lens used, the resolution of the camera determines the smallest definable measurement area of the thermographic system.
Uncooled or cooled infrared detectors are used as the imaging element in an IR camera. However, even in an uncooled IR camera, a thermoelectric or Peltier element usually ensures a constant temperature (usually close to ambient) of the infrared sensor in order to avoid temperature-related drift of the output signal.
The temperature of cooled infrared detectors is considerably lower, usually between a few Kelvin and about 100 K – with a typical point of operation slightly above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, at around 80 K. With the temperature of the detector very much below the temperature of the observed objects, the sensitivity and thus the resolution of these cameras are significantly higher than that of uncooled systems. However, the cost of purchasing and operating a cooled infrared camera is significantly higher, and the system start-up time required to cool down the sensor is significantly longer.
Typical applications of infrared cameras are research and development, life sciences, materials testing, measurement and control of lasers, construction thermography, detection of hot spots in electrical or industrial assemblies, devices and systems, fire detection, localization of objects and persons by firefighters, troubleshooting in photovoltaic systems, determination of the surface temperature of land or water surfaces, detection of underground, hidden structures, military, border protection or night vision assistants in the automotive sector.
Alternative Terms: IR Camera; Thermography Camera; Thermographic Camera; Thermal Imaging Camera; Thermal Imaging System; Thermal Imager; FLIR Camera