Photonics Dictionary

mid-infrared camera

A mid-infrared camera is a type of imaging device designed to capture images in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectral range, typically spanning wavelengths from approximately 3 to 12 µm. This spectral range is situated between the near-infrared and far-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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Mid-infrared cameras employ specialized detectors, such as mercury cadmium telluride (MCT), indium antimonide (InSb), or quantum cascade detectors, that are sensitive to radiation within the mid-IR wavelength range. These detectors convert incoming mid-IR radiation into electrical signals, which are then processed and converted into images by the camera's electronics.

Applications of mid-infrared cameras are diverse and include:

Thermal imaging: Mid-IR cameras can detect heat radiation emitted by objects, making them valuable tools for applications such as industrial inspection, building diagnostics, and surveillance.

Gas detection: Certain molecules exhibit characteristic absorption spectra in the mid-IR range, enabling mid-IR cameras to detect and visualize gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and various pollutants.

Spectroscopy: Mid-infrared cameras can be integrated into spectrometers for chemical analysis and material characterization based on the unique spectral fingerprints of different substances.

Astronomy: Mid-IR cameras are used in astronomical observations to study celestial objects and phenomena, including star formation, planetary atmospheres, and interstellar dust clouds.

Defense and security: Mid-IR cameras have applications in military surveillance, target tracking, and remote sensing for homeland security purposes.
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