You’ll be fascinated by the different types of infrared vision systems you can find out there. With infrared imaging, you have several different options to choose from for different applications. You may or may not have ever heard the acronym SWIR, but you should know that it stands for Short Wave InfraRed, and more often than not is going to refer to the wavelength band of light that sits between 900nm and 2500nm. Unlike Long-Wave Infrared (LWIR) light, which is emitted from the object itself, SWIR light is similar to visible light in that photons are reflected or absorbed by an object, giving you the strongest contrast possible, which you really need for high resolution imaging. While LWIR imagers give off a lower quality image, SWIR can provide HD quality for very specific tasks that require accuracy.
It is so great that so many applications can use SWIR. Some of these more commonly-used and better-known applications are including silicon inspection, laser beam profiling, hyperspectral imaging, chemical and plastics sensing, machine vision imaging, agricultural sensing, surveillance systems, and medical imaging. They give you the ability to see those super minute defects that you just can’t catch otherwise, and in some circumstances that’s the difference between life and death. They are also intended for use in mobile phone facial recognition sensors, and autonomous vehicle imaging though obscured environments. Short Wave Infrared camera use is going to pick up in frequency of use as technology grows.
Machine Vision Imaging
A very popular application for SWIR would be machine vision imaging, which is used in a variety of industries. It is what helps cameras see the absolute smallest defects, see that at extremely fast frame rates, and a field of view wide enough to image a large area. SWIR cameras are compliant with the main vision software programs you’ll find out there. Manufacturing anything always has some unknown and risk to it. There are just so many steps involved in most manufacturing processes, there’s always a chance for something to wrong and lead to you putting out some undesirable product. Delivering an inferior product is unacceptable.
NIR, also known as near infrared imaging is also a camera system, but we find it isn’t the best for everything so we choose SWIR for more important means. Near-infrared (NIR) is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum directly adjacent to the visible range; thus not visible to the human eye. NIR-optimized industrial cameras are popular for applications that need to utilize this wavelength range, mainly applications with poor light conditions, such as traffic monitoring or even security. Until now, these applications were only possible with infrared cameras with expensive CCD sensors. Some application fields and inspection solutions require NIR for high wavelengths as well as for normal lighting, to record high-contrast images. Standard industrial cameras quit working when they reach their own limits. Setting up these light solutions adds tremendous cost and complexity, so you probably won’t by LWIR to be a great choice. Machine vision imaging will continue to need a more enhanced imaging system.