Infrared scanning technology using the shortwave infrared band (SWIR) was initially developed for military applications, but has rapidly gained use outside of defense.
The commercial SWIR imaging technology is starting to reap real benefits in the agriculture industry, such as predicting water stress and detecting diseases in crops, as well as inspecting produce before it reaches the market.
Surveillance through SWIR technology is beneficial for many military and emergency services.
Militaries and emergency services often require 24-hour surveillance in any weather condition. Camouflage is one method used by intruders to conceal their actions. They adapt it to what they encounter at the time. In some cases, they may use smoke grenades, fog, or haze to cover their tracks.
SHORT-WAVE IRRAIRON (SWIR) does not show the effects of haze and smoke. Although infrared pictures cannot contain the color content of visible pictures, infrared photographs, which are formed by light reflecting from the objects observed, can still be interpreted in much the same way as visible pictures.
For military applications, SWIR imaging offers the following major advantages:
- Imagery can be seen despite haze, fog, or glass.
- Wide dynamic range and high sensitivity.
- This detector is ideal for Active Imaging since it can be used in conjunction with eyesafe lasers.
- Maintainability is low compared to MWIR, and the MTBF is long.
There is no need to illuminate.
Single photons can be detected by SWIR cameras, which are extremely sensitive to light. Combining night sky radiance with the effect can emit up to 700% more illumination than starlight. SWIR wavelengths are mainly used by SWIR cameras, which are able to see objects clearly even when the moon is not out.
You can see through fog and haze.
Fog, smoke, and other atmospheric conditions can be penetrated by the longer wavelengths of the SWIR spectrum. Due to this reason, shortwave infrared cameras consistently produce better images than their optical counterparts because they can see right through obstructions, making them particularly useful for protecting urban areas, coastlines, and marine environments.
Due to SWIR’s reflected nature, it is a good technology for identifying people at night, and the only one that is effective without supplementary lighting unlike thermal energy. Although SWIR wavelength images are black and white, they share reflective and contrast characteristics to visible light.
Look through a glass.
SWIR’s ability to penetrate glass is another advantage it has over thermal imaging. By using glass lenses and housings, SWIR cameras are able to see through most windows as well as be more affordable.
Applications of SWIR imaging.
This technology can be used in a variety of applications, from inspecting electronic boards to inspecting solar cells to inspecting produce to identifying and sorting items, to surveillance, anti-counterfeiting, and quality control of the production process. See how pictures of everyday products taken with both visible light and SWIR can serve as examples of SWIR imaging’s benefits.
The use of automated processes allows food processors to implement non-destructive, high-speed quality inspections and grading processes once crops are grown and harvested. Comparatively speaking, humans rely on subjective, expensive, and slow inspection and grading techniques.