Infrared Camera (or IR Camera) is a device that utilizes infrared radiation to form images. The rational of the camera is similar to a common camera that uses visible to capture image (Thermal imaging cameras for Research and Developments, n.d). However, the IR camera deviates from the normal nanometer range of visible light which is 450-479 nanometers, IR cameras function in wavelengths reaching up to 14,000 nm longs. The device had a long history behind at. Sir William Herschel pioneered the discovery of infrared, but the infrared rays were used mainly to measure thermal energy. The detectors were used during the World War I for the use of thermometers and bolometers. The first recorded advance use of the IR technology was used as a device to detect the presence of icebergs and steamships. The first IR camera was devised by Kalman Tihanyi, a Hungarian physicist, who made the infrared-sensitive electronic television camera that was used as a defense against aircraft in Britain (Rogalski, 2012).
The continuous development of the technology continued, in 1947 under the research of the US military and Texas Instruments, the first conventional IR cameras began through the development of the initial line scanner. The worked was further enhanced by the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in the United Kingdom, where the research discovered that mercury cadmium telluride can be used as an alternative conductor for it requires minimal amount of time for cooling. Another milestone in the use of IR cameras was the introduction of the smart sensors. Due to the encouragement of the United States Strategic Defense Initiative, these sensors were developed. The sensors were equipped with integrate sensing, processing, signal extraction and comprehension. During the end of the 1900s the use of infrared technology moved towards its civil use (Rogalski, 2012).
Infrared energy is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, where other rays such as gamma rays, x-rays, ultra violet rays are also part. The working assumption under the concept of infrared technology is that the higher the object’s temperature the more infrared radiation is emitted in the form of black-body radiation. The images produced by the camera usually have a single color channel due to the cameras uses sensor that has no ability to distinguish the different wavelengths (Bullard, 2013).
Bullard (2013) How top agencies are using thermal imaging to increase officer capabilities: thermal imaging application overview.
Flir, Thermal imaging cameras for Research and Development
Rogalski, (2012). History of infrared detectors. Institute of Applied Physics, Military University of Technology, 2 Kaliskiego Str.,00–908 Warsaw, Poland
Wishart et a. (2010). The accuracy of digital infrared imaging for breast cancer detection in women undergoing breast biopsy