Thermal Imaging Scopes
Thermal imaging is a technology that enables objects to still be visible even in low light. It uses the thermal radiation emitted by an object to create images on the screen. It is categorized alongside low light imaging and near-infrared illumination to facilitate night vision.
The advantage of thermal imaging is in its ability to penetrate hazy, foggy, or smoky environments.
This technology is based on the principle that each object gives off heat or thermal energy. Scientifically, the energy emitted is regarded as it’s heat signature because it is unique. The laws of physics teaches us that hotter objects emit more energy while colder objects emit less energy.
The human body is a hot 98 degree average which is typically hotter than the environment and vegetation. This lets the human heat signature stand out.
Night goggles are installed with a thermal imager or thermal camera that can detect minute changes or differences in amount of heat.
As mentioned, these night vision devices collect heat information from the surroundings or point of focus to create an image that allows the user to observe their surroundings.
Because of the differences in heat properties of each organism or object, you will get images that are distinct and identifiable.
Types Of Thermal Imaging Devices
The speed of scanning for most thermal imaging devices is 30 images per second. These devices can detect temperatures as low as -20o C or -4oF to 2000oC or 3,600o. This gives it an incredible range and allows the use thermal imaging technology on an incredibly wide range of operations. The sensitivity of this technology is the ability to detect temperature changes of 0.2oC or 0.4oF.
Thermal imaging devices can be classified into two main types.
These devices originally became popular woth fire fighters using them to look people in smoky environments. There is also a large industrial market for thermal detectors for inspection uses.
- Un-cooled devices– they are the most common type and operate at room temperatures. The elements that detect rays are contained in a compartment that operates at room temperature. The operation of this category of devices is very quiet. Many devices use this technology.
- Cryogenically cooled– the technology is used in this category of devices is advanced and thus infrared night vision equipment using this technology are easily damaged if mishandled. The receptors are contained in a unit that has a cooling mechanism that drops the temperature to zero degrees Celsius. This enables such devices to produce greater contrast and incredible resolution. This technology can also detect temperature changes of 0.2oC which makes it highly reliable in a sensitive military or security operation. This also enables the devices to detect images that are 300m or 1000ft away. Because of the resolution, it is possible to tell whether someone is holding a gun from 300m. This technology is used in military grade night vision equipment.
Image enhancing technology has been used to enhance thermal imaging to enable users to get more clear images.
Constant improvements have led to different generations of thermal imaging equipment and technology. The technology or generations start from 1 to 3, with one being the rudimentary technology and 3 the highest. Each generations increases the distance you can clearly see objects, their contrast and clarity. Improvement in generations also means that you have to pay more for the technology.
Check out the review of the Trijicon Electro-Optics IR Hunter Mark II thermal scope (Click Here).