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Published by Paul Muljadi

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Published by: Paul Muljadi on Oct 03, 2012
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An image of two people in mid-infrared("thermal") light (false-color)This IR space telescope image has blue, greenand red corresponding to 3.4, 4.6, and 12 micronwavelengths respectively.
) light is electromagnetic radiation with longerwavelengths than those of visible light, extending from the nominal rededge of the visible spectrum at 0.74 micrometres (µm) to 300 µm. Thisrange of wavelengths corresponds to a frequency range of approximately 1 to 400 THz,
and includes most of the thermalradiation emitted by objects near room temperature. IR light is emittedor absorbed by molecules when they change their rotational-vibrationalmovements. The existence of IR radiation was first discovered in 1800by astronomer William Herschel.Much of the energy from the Sun arrives on Earth in the form of IRradiation. Sunlight at zenith provides an irradiance of just over1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is IRradiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultravioletradiation.
The balance between absorbed and emitted IR radiationhas a critical effect on the Earth's climate.IR light is used in industrial, scientific, and medical applications.Night-vision devices using IR illumination allow people or animals tobe observed without the observer being detected. In astronomy,imaging at IR wavelengths allows observation of objects obscured byinterstellar dust. IR imaging cameras are used to detect heat loss ininsulated systems, to observe changing blood flow in the skin, and todetect overheating of electrical apparatus.
Light Comparison
NameWavelengthFrequency (Hz)Photon Energy (eV)
Gamma rayless than 0.01 nmmore than 10 EHZ100 keV - 300+ GeVX-Ray0.01 nm to 10 nm30 EHz - 30 PHZ120 eV to 120 keVUltraviolet10 nm - 390 nm30 PHZ - 790 THz3 eV to 124 eVVisible390 nm - 750 nm790 THz - 405 THz1.7 eV - 3.3 eV
750 nm - 1 mm405 THz - 300 GHz1.24 meV - 1.7 eVMicrowave1 mm - 1 meter300 GHz - 300 MHz1.24 µeV - 1.24 meVRadio1 mm - 100,000 km300 GHz - 3 Hz12.4 feV - 1.24 meVIR imaging isused extensively for military and civilian purposes.Military applications include target acquisition, surveillance, night vision, homing and tracking. Non-military uses include thermal efficiency analysis,environmental monitoring, industrial facility inspections, remote temperature sensing, short-ranged wirelesscommunication, spectroscopy, and weather forecasting. Infrared astronomy uses sensor-equipped telescopes topenetrate dusty regions of space, such as molecular clouds; detect objects such as planets, and to view highlyred-shifted objects from the early days of the universe.
Infrared2Humans at normal body temperature radiate chiefly at wavelengths around 10 μm (micrometers), as shown byWien's displacement law.At the atomic level, IR energy elicits vibrational modes in a molecule through a change in the dipole moment,making it a useful frequency range for study of these energy states for molecules of the proper symmetry. Infraredspectroscopy examines absorption and transmission of photons in the IR energy range, based on their frequency andintensity.
Different regions in the IR
Objects generally emit IR radiation across a spectrum of wavelengths, but sometimes only a limited region of thespectrum is of interest because sensors usually collect radiation only within a specific bandwidth. Therefore, the IRband is often subdivided into smaller sections.
Commonly used sub-division scheme
A commonly used sub-division scheme is:
Division NameAbbreviationWavelengthPhoton EnergyCharacteristicsNear-infrared
0.75-1.4 µm0.9-1.7 eVDefined by the water absorption, and commonly used in fiber optictelecommunication because of low attenuation losses in the SiO
glass (silica) medium. Image intensifiers are sensitive to this area of the spectrum. Examples include night vision devices such as nightvision goggles.
1.4-3 µm0.4-0.9 eVWater absorption increases significantly at 1,450 nm. The 1,530 to1,560 nm range is the dominant spectral region for long-distancetelecommunications.
;MidIR.[7]Alsocalled intermediateinfrared (IIR)3-8 µm150-400 meVIn guided missile technology the 3-5 µm portion of this band is theatmospheric window in which the homing heads of passive IR 'heatseeking' missiles are designed to work, homing on to the Infraredsignature of the target aircraft, typically the jet engine exhaust plume
15 µm80-150 meVThis is the "thermal imaging" region, in which sensors can obtain acompletely passive picture of the outside world based on thermalemissions only and requiring no external light or thermal source suchas the sun, moon or infrared illuminator. Forward-looking infrared(FLIR) systems use this area of the spectrum. This region is alsocalled the "thermal infrared."
Far infrared
FIR15 -1,000 µm1.2-80 meV(see also far-infrared laser).
NIR and SWIR is sometimes called "reflected infrared" while MWIR and LWIR is sometimes referred to as "thermalinfrared." Due to the nature of the blackbody radiation curves, typical 'hot' objects, such as exhaust pipes, oftenappear brighter in the MW compared to the same object viewed in the LW.
CIE division scheme
The International Commission on Illumination (CIE) recommended the division of infrared radiation into thefollowing three bands:
IR-A: 700 nm
1400 nm (0.7 µm
1.4 µm, 215 THz - 430 THz)IR-B: 1400 nm
3000 nm (1.4 µm
3 µm, 100 THz - 215 THz)IR-C: 3000 nm
1 mm (3 µm
1000 µm, 300 GHz - 100 THz)
ISO 20473 scheme
ISO 20473 specifies the following scheme:
Near InfraredNIR0.78
3 µmMid InfraredMIR3
50 µmFar InfraredFIR50
1000 µm
Astronomy division scheme
Astronomers typically divide the IR spectrum as follows:
Near InfraredNIR(0.7
1) to 5 µmMid InfraredMIR5 to (25
40) µmFar InfraredFIR(25
40) to (200
350) µm.
These divisions are not precise and can vary depending on the publication. The three regions are used for observationof different temperature ranges, and hence different environments in space.
Sensor response division scheme
Plot of atmospheric transmittance in part of theIR region.
A third scheme divides up the band based on the response of variousdetectors:
Near infrared: from 0.7 to 1.0 µm (from the approximate end of theresponse of the human eye to that of silicon).Short-wave infrared: 1.0 to 3 µm (from the cut off of silicon to thatof the MWIR atmospheric window. InGaAs covers to about 1.8µm; the less sensitive lead salts cover this region.Mid-wave infrared: 3 to 5 µm (defined by the atmospheric window and covered by Indium antimonide [InSb] andHgCdTe and partially by lead selenide [PbSe]).Long-wave infrared: 8 to 12, or 7 to 14 µm: the atmospheric window (Covered by HgCdTe andmicrobolometers).Very-long wave infrared (VLWIR): 12 to about 30 µm, covered by doped silicon.These divisions are justified by the different human response to this radiation: near infrared is the region closest inwavelength to the radiation detectable by the human eye, mid and far infrared are progressively further from thevisible spectrum. Other definitions follow different physical mechanisms (emission peaks, vs. bands, waterabsorption) and the newest follow technical reasons (The common silicon detectors are sensitive to about 1,050 nm,

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