Do you happen to know what SWIR is or how it compares to LWIR and NIR? We’re talking about Infrared cameras. It is more often than not referring to the wavelength band of light that sits between 900nm and 2500nm. Unlike Long-Wave Infrared (LWIR) light, which is emitted from the object itself, SWIR light is similar to visible light in that photons are reflected or absorbed by an object, giving you impeccable contrast, which you really need for high resolution imaging. While LWIR imagers create ill-defined thermal images, SWIR will produce superior imagery.
Short Wave InfraRed Imagers
SWIR can be used in plenty of great applications. Applications such as silicon inspection, laser beam profiling, hyperspectral imaging, chemical and plastics sensing, machine vision imaging, agricultural sensing, surveillance systems, and medical imaging, will use SWIR. They give you the ability to see those super minute defects that you just can’t catch otherwise, and in some circumstances that’s the difference between life and death. They are also intended for use in mobile phone facial recognition sensors, and autonomous vehicle imaging though obscured environments. It is going to become even more increasingly common over time as technology progresses.
SWIR and Machine Vision Imaging
We think the most common, and maybe best, use for SWIR is through machine vision imaging. A machine vision imaging camera actually shows the absolute smallest defects, see that at extremely fast frame rates, and a field of view wide enough to image a large area. SWIR cameras are compliant with the main vision software programs you’ll find out there. Manufacturing anything always has some unknown and risk to it. There are just so many steps involved in most manufacturing processes, there’s always a chance for something to wrong and lead to you putting out some undesirable product that could reflect badly on the brand.
NIR is very close to human vision but removes the color wavelengths, which results in most objects looking very similar to an image that has been converted to black and white. One exception is trees and plants, which are highly reflective in the NIR wavelength and thus appear much brighter than they do in color. That difference in reflectivity of certain objects, in combination with reduced atmospheric haze and distortion in the NIR wavelength, means that detail and visibility are often improved at long ranges.