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What is thermal imaging?

Thermal Imaging is the means by which humans enable themselves to see in the infrared portion of the spectrum of light. Type of infra-red imaging science. Also known as Thermography or Infra-red Thermography.

Basics of Light

Energy is inversely proportional to wavelength. Violet has the most energy and red has the least.

Infra-red region
Divided into three regions:I. Near-Infrared Region:

Closest to visible light. Wavelengths ranging from 0.7 to 1.3 microns.


Mid-Infrared Region:

Wavelengths ranging from 1.3 to 3 microns.

for example: remote control

III. Far-Infrared Region:

Largest component of the infra-red spectrum Wavelengths ranging from 3 to over 30 microns. Also called as thermal infra-red region.

Physics of emissivity
Incident light Absorbed



Incident Energy = Emitted Energy + Transmitted Energy + Reflected Energy 100%= Emitted % + Reflected % +Transmitted %

Active & Passive Thermography


Pressure Microwaves Man-made

Flame Air stream Current Man-made light Sunlight



Construction & Working

Construction and Working

1.) EMR Conversion to Electricity Electric current


Electric current


Amplified current


Amplified current

Conversion to EMR



A negatively charged electrode used for light detection. Coated with a photo-sensitive material When struck by light, the absorbed energy results in electron emission (Photo-electric Effect) Ex : Compounds of Ga, As, Cs, Sb, Na.

Photo-electric effect

The photoelectric effect is the emission, or ejection, of electrons from the surface of, generally, a metal in response to incident light.

Photo Multiplier tubes

Extremely sensitive detectors of light that multiply the current produced by incident light.

Temperature Calibration


It shows a visual picture so temperatures over a large area can be compared. It is capable of catching moving targets in real time It can be used to measure or observe in areas. inaccessible or hazardous for other methods . It can be used to find defects in shafts, pipes, and other metal or plastic parts . It can be used to see better in dark areas .


Due to the low volume of thermal cameras, quality cameras often have a high price range . Images can be difficult to interpret accurately when based upon certain objects, specifically objects with erratic temperatures, although this problem is reduced in active thermal imaging. Accurate temperature measurements are hindered by differing emissivities and reflections from other surface. Most cameras have 2% accuracy or worse and are not as accurate as contact methods. Only able to directly detect surface temperatures.

Maintenance & Monitoring

Maritime & Navigation

Medical Imaging

Volcanology & Geological surveys Research

Law enforcement

Night vision

Future applications

The latest trend in imaging systems is the combining of imaging cameras to the power of the personal computer (PC). The electronics are contained on a card which can plug directly into the computer and take advantage of the high resolution display, processing capability and mass storage. The camera connects directly to a port on the computer. The cost overhead associated with separate displays, separate memory and enclosures is thus avoided.

Infra-red Spectroscopy: Fundamentals and ApplicationsBarbara Stuart, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Wiley Publications Hand book of Analytical Instruments- R.S. Khandpur, Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Company Ltd. Biomedical Instrumentation- R.S. Khandpur, Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Company Ltd. Practical application of IR techniques Ricardo Vanzetti. Thermal Imaging techniques P.E Glaser





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