The Info List - Infrared

radiation (IR) is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with longer wavelengths than those of visible light, and is therefore generally invisible to the human eye (although IR at wavelengths up to 1050 nm from specially pulsed lasers can be seen by humans under certain conditions [1][2][3][4]). It is sometimes called infrared light. IR wavelengths extend from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum at 700 nanometers (frequency 430 THz), to 1 millimeter (300 GHz)[5] Most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature is infrared. Like all EMR, IR carries radiant energy, and behaves both like a wave and like its quantum particle, the photon. Infrared
was discovered in 1800 by astronomer Sir William Herschel, who discovered a type of invisible radiation in the spectrum lower in energy than red light, by means of its effect on a thermometer.[6] Slightly more than half of the total energy from the Sun
was eventually found to arrive on Earth in the form of infrared. The balance between absorbed and emitted infrared radiation has a critical effect on Earth's climate. Infrared
radiation is emitted or absorbed by molecules when they change their rotational-vibrational movements. It excites 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. Infrared spectroscopy
Infrared spectroscopy
examines absorption and transmission of photons in the infrared range.[7] Infrared
radiation is used in industrial, scientific, and medical applications. Night-vision devices using active near-infrared illumination allow people or animals to be observed without the observer being detected. Infrared astronomy
Infrared astronomy
uses sensor-equipped telescopes to penetrate dusty regions of space such as molecular clouds, detect objects such as planets, and to view highly red-shifted objects from the early days of the universe.[8] Infrared thermal-imaging cameras are used to detect heat loss in insulated systems, to observe changing blood flow in the skin, and to detect overheating of electrical apparatus. Thermal-infrared imaging is used extensively for military and civilian purposes. Military applications include target acquisition, surveillance, night vision, homing, and tracking. Humans at normal body temperature radiate chiefly at wavelengths around 10 μm (micrometers). Non-military uses include thermal efficiency analysis, environmental monitoring, industrial facility inspections, remote temperature sensing, short-ranged wireless communication, spectroscopy, and weather forecasting.


1 Definition and relationship to the electromagnetic spectrum 2 Natural infrared 3 Regions within the infrared

3.1 Commonly used sub-division scheme 3.2 CIE division scheme 3.3 ISO 20473 scheme 3.4 Astronomy division scheme 3.5 Sensor
response division scheme 3.6 Telecommunication
bands in the infrared

4 Heat 5 Applications

5.1 Night vision 5.2 Thermography 5.3 Hyperspectral imaging 5.4 Other imaging 5.5 Tracking 5.6 Heating 5.7 Cooling 5.8 Communications 5.9 Spectroscopy 5.10 Thin film metrology 5.11 Meteorology 5.12 Climatology 5.13 Astronomy 5.14 Infrared
cleaning 5.15 Art conservation and analysis 5.16 Biological systems 5.17 Photobiomodulation 5.18 Health hazard

6 History of infrared science 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Definition and relationship to the electromagnetic spectrum[edit] Infrared
radiation extends from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum at 700 nanometers (nm) to 1 mm. This range of wavelengths corresponds to a frequency range of approximately 430 THz down to 300 GHz. Below infrared is the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

in relation to electromagnetic spectrum


Name Wavelength Frequency
(Hz) Photon
Energy (eV)

Gamma ray less than 0.01 nm more than 30 EHz 124 keV – 300+ GeV

X-ray 0.01 nm – 10 nm 30 EHz – 30 PHz 124 eV  – 124 keV

Ultraviolet 10 nm – 400 nm 30 PHz – 790 THz 3.3 eV – 124 eV

Visible 400 nm–700 nm 790 THz – 430 THz 1.7 eV – 3.3 eV

Infrared 700 nm – 1 mm 430 THz – 300 GHz 1.24 meV – 1.7 eV

Microwave 1 mm – 1 meter 300  GHz – 300 MHz 1.24 µeV – 1.24 meV

Radio 1 meter – 100,000 km 300 MHz – 3 Hz 12.4 feV – 1.24 µeV

Natural infrared[edit] Sunlight, at an effective temperature of 5,780 kelvins, is composed of near thermal-spectrum radiation that is slightly more than half infrared. At zenith, sunlight provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation.[10] Nearly all the infrared radiation in sunlight is near infrared, shorter than 4 micrometers. On the surface of Earth, at far lower temperatures than the surface of the Sun, almost all thermal radiation consists of infrared in mid-infrared region, much longer than in sunlight. Of these natural thermal radiation processes only lightning and natural fires are hot enough to produce much visible energy, and fires produce far more infrared than visible-light energy. Regions within the infrared[edit] In general, objects emit infrared radiation across a spectrum of wavelengths, but sometimes only a limited region of the spectrum is of interest because sensors usually collect radiation only within a specific bandwidth. Thermal infrared radiation also has a maximum emission wavelength, which is inversely proportional to the absolute temperature of object, in accordance with Wien's displacement law. Therefore, the infrared band is often subdivided into smaller sections. Commonly used sub-division scheme[edit] A commonly used sub-division scheme is:[11]

Division Name Abbreviation Wavelength Frequency Photon Energy Temperature† Characteristics

Near-infrared NIR, IR-A DIN 0.75–1.4 µm 214–400 THz 886–1653 meV 3,864–2,070 K (3,591–1,797 °C) Defined by the water absorption,[clarification needed] and commonly used in fiber optic telecommunication because of low attenuation losses in the SiO2 glass (silica) medium. Image intensifiers are sensitive to this area of the spectrum; examples include night vision devices such as night vision goggles. Near-infrared spectroscopy
Near-infrared spectroscopy
is another common application.

Short-wavelength infrared SWIR, IR-B DIN 1.4–3 µm 100–214 THz 413–886 meV 2,070–966 K (1,797–693 °C) Water absorption increases significantly at 1450 nm. The 1530 to 1560 nm range is the dominant spectral region for long-distance telecommunications.

Mid-wavelength infrared MWIR, IR-C DIN; MidIR.[12] Also called intermediate infrared (IIR) 3–8 µm 37–100 THz 155–413 meV 966–362 K (693–89 °C) In guided missile technology the 3–5 µm portion of this band is the atmospheric window in which the homing heads of passive IR 'heat seeking' missiles are designed to work, homing on to the Infrared signature of the target aircraft, typically the jet engine exhaust plume. This region is also known as thermal infrared.

Long-wavelength infrared LWIR, IR-C DIN 8–15 µm 20–37 THz 83–155 meV 362–193 K (89 – −80 °C) The "thermal imaging" region, in which sensors can obtain a completely passive image of objects only slightly higher in temperature than room temperature - for example, the human body - based on thermal emissions only and requiring no illumination such as the sun, moon, or infrared illuminator. This region is also called the "thermal infrared".

Far infrared FIR 15–1000 µm 0.3–20 THz 1.2–83 meV 193–3 K (−80.15 – −270.15 °C) (see also far-infrared laser and far infrared)

† Temperatures of black bodies for which spectral peaks fall at the given wavelengths, according to Wien's displacement law[13]

A comparison of a thermal image (top) and an ordinary photograph (bottom) shows that a trash bag is transparent but glass (the man's spectacles) is opaque in long-wavelength infrared.

NIR and SWIR is sometimes called "reflected infrared", whereas MWIR and LWIR is sometimes referred to as "thermal infrared". Due to the nature of the blackbody radiation curves, typical "hot" objects, such as exhaust pipes, often appear brighter in the MW compared to the same object viewed in the LW. CIE division scheme[edit] The International Commission on Illumination
International Commission on Illumination
(CIE) recommended the division of infrared radiation into the following three bands:[14]

Abbreviation Wavelength Frequency

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[edit] ISO 20473 specifies the following scheme:[15]

Designation Abbreviation Wavelength

Near-Infrared NIR 0.78–3 µm

Mid-Infrared MIR 3–50 µm

Far-Infrared FIR 50–1000 µm

Astronomy division scheme[edit] Astronomers typically divide the infrared spectrum as follows:[16]

Designation Abbreviation Wavelength

Near-Infrared NIR (0.7–1) to 5 µm

Mid-Infrared MIR 5 to (25–40) µm

Far-Infrared FIR (25–40) to (200–350) µm.

These divisions are not precise and can vary depending on the publication. The three regions are used for observation of different temperature ranges, and hence different environments in space. The most common photometric system used in astronomy allocates capital letters to different spectral regions according to filters used; I, J, H, and K cover the near-infrared wavelengths; L, M, N, and Q refer to the mid-infrared region. These letters are commonly understood in reference to atmospheric windows and appear, for instance, in the titles of many papers. Sensor
response division scheme[edit]

Plot of atmospheric transmittance in part of the infrared region.

A third scheme divides up the band based on the response of various detectors:[17]

Near-infrared: from 0.7 to 1.0 µm (from the approximate end of the response of the human eye to that of silicon). Short-wave infrared: 1.0 to 3 µm (from the cut-off of silicon to that of the MWIR atmospheric window). InGaAs covers to about 1.8 µm; 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
Indium antimonide
[InSb] and HgCdTe
and partially by lead selenide [PbSe]). Long-wave infrared: 8 to 12, or 7 to 14 µm (this is the atmospheric window covered by HgCdTe
and microbolometers). Very-long wave infrared (VLWIR) (12 to about 30 µm, covered by doped silicon).

Near-infrared is the region closest in wavelength to the radiation detectable by the human eye. mid- and far-infrared are progressively further from the visible spectrum. Other definitions follow different physical mechanisms (emission peaks, vs. bands, water absorption) and the newest follow technical reasons (the common silicon detectors are sensitive to about 1,050 nm, while InGaAs's sensitivity starts around 950 nm and ends between 1,700 and 2,600 nm, depending on the specific configuration). No international standards for these specifications are currently available. The onset of infrared is defined (according to different standards) at various values typically between 700 nm and 800 nm, but the boundary between visible and infrared light is not precisely defined. The human eye is markedly less sensitive to light above 700 nm wavelength, so longer wavelengths make insignificant contributions to scenes illuminated by common light sources. However, particularly intense near-IR light (e.g., from IR lasers, IR LED
sources, or from bright daylight with the visible light removed by colored gels) can be detected up to approximately 780 nm, and will be perceived as red light. Intense light sources providing wavelengths as long as 1050 nm can be seen as a dull red glow, causing some difficulty in near-IR illumination of scenes in the dark (usually this practical problem is solved by indirect illumination). Leaves are particularly bright in the near IR, and if all visible light leaks from around an IR-filter are blocked, and the eye is given a moment to adjust to the extremely dim image coming through a visually opaque IR-passing photographic filter, it is possible to see the Wood effect
Wood effect
that consists of IR-glowing foliage.[18] Telecommunication
bands in the infrared[edit] In optical communications, the part of the infrared spectrum that is used is divided into seven bands based on availability of light sources transmitting/absorbing materials (fibers) and detectors:[19]

Band Descriptor Wavelength

O band Original 1260–1360 nm

E band Extended 1360–1460 nm

S band Short wavelength 1460–1530 nm

C band Conventional 1530–1565 nm

L band Long wavelength 1565–1625 nm

U band Ultralong wavelength 1625–1675 nm

The C-band is the dominant band for long-distance telecommunication networks. The S and L bands are based on less well established technology, and are not as widely deployed. Heat[edit] Main article: Thermal radiation

Materials with higher emissivity appear to be hotter. In this thermal image, the ceramic cylinder appears to be hotter than its cubic container (made of silicon carbide), while in fact they have the same temperature.

radiation is popularly known as "heat radiation"[20], but light and electromagnetic waves of any frequency will heat surfaces that absorb them. Infrared
light from the Sun
accounts for 49%[21] of the heating of Earth, with the rest being caused by visible light that is absorbed then re-radiated at longer wavelengths. Visible light
Visible light
or ultraviolet-emitting lasers can char paper and incandescently hot objects emit visible radiation. Objects at room temperature will emit radiation concentrated mostly in the 8 to 25 µm band, but this is not distinct from the emission of visible light by incandescent objects and ultraviolet by even hotter objects (see black body and Wien's displacement law).[22] Heat
is energy in transit that flows due to temperature difference. Unlike heat transmitted by thermal conduction or thermal convection, thermal radiation can propagate through a vacuum. Thermal radiation
Thermal radiation
is characterized by a particular spectrum of many wavelengths that is associated with emission from an object, due to the vibration of its molecules at a given temperature. Thermal radiation
Thermal radiation
can be emitted from objects at any wavelength, and at very high temperatures such radiations are associated with spectra far above the infrared, extending into visible, ultraviolet, and even X-ray
regions (e.g. the solar corona). Thus, the popular association of infrared radiation with thermal radiation is only a coincidence based on typical (comparatively low) temperatures often found near the surface of planet Earth. The concept of emissivity is important in understanding the infrared emissions of objects. This is a property of a surface that describes how its thermal emissions deviate from the ideal of a black body. To further explain, two objects at the same physical temperature will not show the same infrared image if they have differing emissivity. For example, for any pre-set emissivity value, objects with higher emissivity will appear hotter, and those with a lower emissivity will appear cooler. For that reason, incorrect selection of emissivity will give inaccurate results when using infrared cameras and pyrometers. Applications[edit]

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Night vision[edit] Main article: Night vision

Active-infrared night vision : the camera illuminates the scene at infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye. Despite a dark back-lit scene, active-infrared night vision delivers identifying details, as seen on the display monitor.

is used in night vision equipment when there is insufficient visible light to see.[23] Night vision
Night vision
devices operate through a process involving the conversion of ambient light photons into electrons that are then amplified by a chemical and electrical process and then converted back into visible light.[23] Infrared
light sources can be used to augment the available ambient light for conversion by night vision devices, increasing in-the-dark visibility without actually using a visible light source.[23] The use of infrared light and night vision devices should not be confused with thermal imaging, which creates images based on differences in surface temperature by detecting infrared radiation (heat) that emanates from objects and their surrounding environment.[24] Thermography[edit]

helped to determine the temperature profile of the Space Shuttle thermal protection system during re-entry.

Main article: Thermography Infrared
radiation can be used to remotely determine the temperature of objects (if the emissivity is known). This is termed thermography, or in the case of very hot objects in the NIR or visible it is termed pyrometry. Thermography
(thermal imaging) is mainly used in military and industrial applications but the technology is reaching the public market in the form of infrared cameras on cars due to the massively reduced production costs. Thermographic cameras
Thermographic cameras
detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 900–14,000 nanometers or 0.9–14 μm) and produce images of that radiation. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects based on their temperatures, according to the black body radiation law, thermography makes it possible to "see" one's environment with or without visible illumination. The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature, therefore thermography allows one to see variations in temperature (hence the name). Hyperspectral imaging[edit] Main article: Hyperspectral imaging

Hyperspectral thermal infrared emission measurement, an outdoor scan in winter conditions, ambient temperature −15 °C, image produced with a Specim
LWIR hyperspectral imager. Relative radiance spectra from various targets in the image are shown with arrows. The infrared spectra of the different objects such as the watch clasp have clearly distinctive characteristics. The contrast level indicates the temperature of the object.[25]

light from the LED
of a remote control as recorded by a digital camera.

A hyperspectral image is a "picture" containing continuous spectrum through a wide spectral range at each pixel. Hyperspectral imaging
Hyperspectral imaging
is gaining importance in the field of applied spectroscopy particularly with NIR, SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR spectral regions. Typical applications include biological, mineralogical, defence, and industrial measurements. Thermal infrared hyperspectral imaging can be similarly performed using a Thermographic camera, with the fundamental difference that each pixel contains a full LWIR spectrum. Consequently, chemical identification of the object can be performed without a need for an external light source such as the sun or the moon. Such cameras are typically applied for geological measurements, outdoor surveillance and UAV
applications.[26] Other imaging[edit] In infrared photography, infrared filters are used to capture the near-infrared spectrum. Digital cameras often use infrared blockers. Cheaper digital cameras and camera phones have less effective filters and can "see" intense near-infrared, appearing as a bright purple-white color. This is especially pronounced when taking pictures of subjects near IR-bright areas (such as near a lamp), where the resulting infrared interference can wash out the image. There is also a technique called 'T-ray' imaging, which is imaging using far-infrared or terahertz radiation. Lack of bright sources can make terahertz photography more challenging than most other infrared imaging techniques. Recently T-ray imaging has been of considerable interest due to a number of new developments such as terahertz time-domain spectroscopy.

Reflected light photograph in various infrared spectra to illustrate the appearance as the wavelength of light changes.

Tracking[edit] Main article: Infrared
homing Infrared
tracking, also known as infrared homing, refers to a passive missile guidance system, which uses the emission from a target of electromagnetic radiation in the infrared part of the spectrum to track it. Missiles that use infrared seeking are often referred to as "heat-seekers", since infrared (IR) is just below the visible spectrum of light in frequency and is radiated strongly by hot bodies. Many objects such as people, vehicle engines, and aircraft generate and retain heat, and as such, are especially visible in the infrared wavelengths of light compared to objects in the background.[27] Heating[edit] Main article: Infrared

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radiation can be used as a deliberate heating source. For example, it is used in infrared saunas to heat the occupants. It may also be used in other heating applications, such as to remove ice from the wings of aircraft (de-icing).[28] Infrared
can be used in cooking and heating food as it predominantly heats the opaque, absorbent objects, rather than the air around them. Infrared heating
Infrared heating
is also becoming more popular in industrial manufacturing processes, e.g. curing of coatings, forming of plastics, annealing, plastic welding, and print drying. In these applications, infrared heaters replace convection ovens and contact heating. Efficiency is achieved by matching the wavelength of the infrared heater to the absorption characteristics of the material. Cooling[edit] Main article: Radiative cooling A variety of technologies or proposed technologies take advantage of infrared emissions to cool buildings or other systems. The LWIR (8–15 µm) region is especially useful since some radiation at these wavelengths can escape into space through the atmosphere. Communications[edit] IR data transmission is also employed in short-range communication among computer peripherals and personal digital assistants. These devices usually conform to standards published by IrDA, the Infrared Data Association. Remote controls and IrDA devices use infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to emit infrared radiation that is focused by a plastic lens into a narrow beam. The beam is modulated, i.e. switched on and off, to prevent interference from other sources of infrared (like sunlight or artificial lighting). The receiver uses a silicon photodiode to convert the infrared radiation to an electric current. It responds only to the rapidly pulsing signal created by the transmitter, and filters out slowly changing infrared radiation from ambient light. Infrared
communications are useful for indoor use in areas of high population density. IR does not penetrate walls and so does not interfere with other devices in adjoining rooms. Infrared
is the most common way for remote controls to command appliances. Infrared
remote control protocols like RC-5, SIRC, are used to communicate with infrared. Free space optical communication
Free space optical communication
using infrared lasers can be a relatively inexpensive way to install a communications link in an urban area operating at up to 4 gigabit/s, compared to the cost of burying fiber optic cable, except for the radiation damage. "Since the eye cannot detect IR, blinking or closing the eyes to help prevent or reduce damage may not happen."[29] Infrared
lasers are used to provide the light for optical fiber communications systems. Infrared
light with a wavelength around 1,330 nm (least dispersion) or 1,550 nm (best transmission) are the best choices for standard silica fibers. IR data transmission of encoded audio versions of printed signs is being researched as an aid for visually impaired people through the RIAS (Remote Infrared Audible Signage) project. Transmitting IR data from one device to another is sometimes referred to as beaming. Spectroscopy[edit] Infrared
vibrational spectroscopy (see also near-infrared spectroscopy) is a technique that can be used to identify molecules by analysis of their constituent bonds. Each chemical bond in a molecule vibrates at a frequency characteristic of that bond. A group of atoms in a molecule (e.g., CH2) may have multiple modes of oscillation caused by the stretching and bending motions of the group as a whole. If an oscillation leads to a change in dipole in the molecule then it will absorb a photon that has the same frequency. The vibrational frequencies of most molecules correspond to the frequencies of infrared light. Typically, the technique is used to study organic compounds using light radiation from 4000–400 cm−1, the mid-infrared. A spectrum of all the frequencies of absorption in a sample is recorded. This can be used to gain information about the sample composition in terms of chemical groups present and also its purity (for example, a wet sample will show a broad O-H absorption around 3200 cm−1). Thin film metrology[edit] In the semiconductor industry, infrared light can be used to characterize materials such as thin films and periodic trench structures. By measuring the reflectance of light from the surface of a semiconductor wafer, the index of refraction (n) and the extinction Coefficient (k) can be determined via the Forouhi-Bloomer dispersion equations. The reflectance from the infrared light can also be used to determine the critical dimension, depth, and sidewall angle of high aspect ratio trench structures. Meteorology[edit]

IR Satellite picture taken 1315 Z on 15th October 2006. A frontal system can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
with embedded Cumulonimbus cloud. Shallower Cumulus and Stratocumulus
can be seen off the Eastern Seaboard.

Weather satellites equipped with scanning radiometers produce thermal or infrared images, which can then enable a trained analyst to determine cloud heights and types, to calculate land and surface water temperatures, and to locate ocean surface features. The scanning is typically in the range 10.3–12.5 µm (IR4 and IR5 channels). High, cold ice clouds such as Cirrus or Cumulonimbus
show up bright white, lower warmer clouds such as Stratus or Stratocumulus
show up as grey with intermediate clouds shaded accordingly. Hot land surfaces will show up as dark-grey or black. One disadvantage of infrared imagery is that low cloud such as stratus or fog can be a similar temperature to the surrounding land or sea surface and does not show up. However, using the difference in brightness of the IR4 channel (10.3–11.5 µm) and the near-infrared channel (1.58–1.64 µm), low cloud can be distinguished, producing a fog satellite picture. The main advantage of infrared is that images can be produced at night, allowing a continuous sequence of weather to be studied. These infrared pictures can depict ocean eddies or vortices and map currents such as the Gulf Stream, which are valuable to the shipping industry. Fishermen and farmers are interested in knowing land and water temperatures to protect their crops against frost or increase their catch from the sea. Even El Niño
El Niño
phenomena can be spotted. Using color-digitized techniques, the gray-shaded thermal images can be converted to color for easier identification of desired information. The main water vapour channel at 6.40 to 7.08 µm can be imaged by some weather satellites and shows the amount of moisture in the atmosphere.

Climatology[edit] In the field of climatology, atmospheric infrared radiation is monitored to detect trends in the energy exchange between the earth and the atmosphere. These trends provide information on long-term changes in Earth's climate. It is one of the primary parameters studied in research into global warming, together with solar radiation.

Schematic of the greenhouse effect

A pyrgeometer is utilized in this field of research to perform continuous outdoor measurements. This is a broadband infrared radiometer with sensitivity for infrared radiation between approximately 4.5 µm and 50 µm. Astronomy[edit] Main articles: Infrared astronomy
Infrared astronomy
and far-infrared astronomy

Beta Pictoris
Beta Pictoris
with its planet Beta Pictoris
Beta Pictoris
b, the light-blue dot off-center, as seen in infrared. It combines two images, the inner disc is at 3.6 µm.

Astronomers observe objects in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum using optical components, including mirrors, lenses and solid state digital detectors. For this reason it is classified as part of optical astronomy. To form an image, the components of an infrared telescope need to be carefully shielded from heat sources, and the detectors are chilled using liquid helium. The sensitivity of Earth-based infrared telescopes is significantly limited by water vapor in the atmosphere, which absorbs a portion of the infrared radiation arriving from space outside of selected atmospheric windows. This limitation can be partially alleviated by placing the telescope observatory at a high altitude, or by carrying the telescope aloft with a balloon or an aircraft. Space telescopes do not suffer from this handicap, and so outer space is considered the ideal location for infrared astronomy. The infrared portion of the spectrum has several useful benefits for astronomers. Cold, dark molecular clouds of gas and dust in our galaxy will glow with radiated heat as they are irradiated by imbedded stars. Infrared
can also be used to detect protostars before they begin to emit visible light. Stars emit a smaller portion of their energy in the infrared spectrum, so nearby cool objects such as planets can be more readily detected. (In the visible light spectrum, the glare from the star will drown out the reflected light from a planet.) Infrared
light is also useful for observing the cores of active galaxies, which are often cloaked in gas and dust. Distant galaxies with a high redshift will have the peak portion of their spectrum shifted toward longer wavelengths, so they are more readily observed in the infrared.[8] Infrared
cleaning[edit] Infrared cleaning is a technique used by some motion picture film scanners, film scanners and flatbed scanners to reduce or remove the effect of dust and scratches upon the finished scan. It works by collecting an additional infrared channel from the scan at the same position and resolution as the three visible color channels (red, green, and blue). The infrared channel, in combination with the other channels, is used to detect the location of scratches and dust. Once located, those defects can be corrected by scaling or replaced by inpainting.[30] Art conservation and analysis[edit]

The Arnolfini Portrait
The Arnolfini Portrait
by Jan van Eyck, National Gallery, London

reflectography (fr; it; es), as called by art conservators,[31] can be applied to paintings to reveal underlying layers in a completely non-destructive manner, in particular the underdrawing or outline drawn by the artist as a guide. This often reveals the artist's use of carbon black, which shows up well in reflectograms, as long as it has not also been used in the ground underlying the whole painting. Art conservators are looking to see whether the visible layers of paint differ from the underdrawing or layers in between – such alterations are called pentimenti when made by the original artist. This is very useful information in deciding whether a painting is the prime version by the original artist or a copy, and whether it has been altered by over-enthusiastic restoration work. In general, the more pentimenti the more likely a painting is to be the prime version. It also gives useful insights into working practices.[32] Among many other changes in the Arnolfini Portrait
Arnolfini Portrait
of 1434 (left), the man's face was originally higher by about the height of his eye; the woman's was higher, and her eyes looked more to the front. Each of his feet was underdrawn in one position, painted in another, and then overpainted in a third. These alterations are seen in infrared reflectograms.[33] Recent progress in the design of infrared sensitive cameras made it possible to discover and depict not only underpaintings and pentimenti but entire paintings which were later overpainted by the artist.[34] Notable examples are Picasso's "Woman ironing" and " Blue
room", where in both cases, a portrait of a man has been made visible under the painting as it is known today. Similar uses of infrared are made by conservators and scientists on various types of objects, especially very old written documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Roman works in the Villa of the Papyri, and the Silk Road texts found in the Dunhuang Caves.[35] Carbon black used in ink can show up extremely well. Biological systems[edit] Main article: Infrared
sensing in snakes

Thermographic image of a snake eating a mouse

The pit viper has a pair of infrared sensory pits on its head. There is uncertainty regarding the exact thermal sensitivity of this biological infrared detection system.[36][37] Other organisms that have thermoreceptive organs are pythons (family Pythonidae), some boas (family Boidae), the Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus), a variety of jewel beetles (Melanophila acuminata),[38] darkly pigmented butterflies (Pachliopta aristolochiae and Troides rhadamantus plateni), and possibly blood-sucking bugs (Triatoma infestans).[39] Although near-infrared vision (780–1000 nm) has long been deemed impossible due to noise in visual pigments,[40] sensation of near-infrared light was reported in the common carp and in three cichlid species.[40][41][42][43][44] Fish use NIR to capture prey[40] and for phototactic swimming orientation.[44] NIR sensation in fish may be relevant under poor lighting conditions during twilight[40] and in turbid surface waters.[44] Photobiomodulation[edit] Near-infrared light, or photobiomodulation, is used for treatment of chemotherapy-induced oral ulceration as well as wound healing. There is some work relating to anti-herpes virus treatment.[45] Research projects include work on central nervous system healing effects via cytochrome c oxidase upregulation and other possible mechanisms.[46] Health hazard[edit] Strong infrared radiation in certain industry high-heat settings may be hazardous to the eyes, resulting in damage or blindness to the user. Since the radiation is invisible, special IR-proof goggles must be worn in such places.[47] History of infrared science[edit]

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The discovery of infrared radiation is ascribed to William Herschel, the astronomer, in the early 19th century. Herschel published his results in 1800 before the Royal Society of London. Herschel used a prism to refract light from the sun and detected the infrared, beyond the red part of the spectrum, through an increase in the temperature recorded on a thermometer. He was surprised at the result and called them "Calorific Rays". The term 'Infrared' did not appear until late in the 19th century.[48][49] Other important dates include:[17]

radiation was discovered in 1800 by William Herschel.

1737: Émilie du Châtelet
Émilie du Châtelet
predicted what is today known as infrared radiation in Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu. 1835: Macedonio Melloni
Macedonio Melloni
made the first thermopile IR detector. 1840: John Herschel
John Herschel
produces the first thermal image thermogram. 1860: Gustav Kirchhoff
Gustav Kirchhoff
formulated the blackbody theorem

E = J ( T , n )

displaystyle E=J(T,n)

. 1873: Willoughby Smith
Willoughby Smith
discovered the photoconductivity of selenium. 1878: Samuel Pierpont Langley
Samuel Pierpont Langley
invents the first bolometer, a device which is able to measure small temperature fluctuations, and thus the power of far infrared sources. 1879: Stefan-Boltzmann law
Stefan-Boltzmann law
formulated empirically that the power radiated by a blackbody is proportional to T4. 1880s & 1890s: Lord Rayleigh and Wilhelm Wien
Wilhelm Wien
solved part of the blackbody equation, but both solutions diverged in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. This problem was called the "Ultraviolet catastrophe and Infrared
Catastrophe". 1901: Max Planck
Max Planck
published the blackbody equation and theorem. He solved the problem by quantizing the allowable energy transitions. 1905: Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
developed the theory of the photoelectric effect. 1917: Theodore Case
Theodore Case
developed the thallous sulfide detector; British scientist built the first infra-red search and track (IRST) device able to detect aircraft at a range of one mile (1.6 km). 1935: Lead salts – early missile guidance in World War II. 1938: Teau Ta – predicted that the pyroelectric effect could be used to detect infrared radiation. 1945: The Zielgerät 1229
Zielgerät 1229
"Vampir" infrared weapon system was introduced as the first portable infrared device for military applications. 1952: H. Welker grew synthetic InSb
crystals. 1950s: Paul Kruse (at Honeywell) and Texas Instruments recorded infrared images. 1950s and 1960s: Nomenclature and radiometric units defined by Fred Nicodemenus, G.J. Zissis and R. Clark; Robert Clark Jones defined D*. 1958: W.D. Lawson ( Royal Radar Establishment in Malvern) discovered IR detection properties of HgCdTe. 1958: Falcon and Sidewinder missiles were developed using infrared technology. 1961: J. Cooper demonstrated pyroelectric detection. 1964: W.G. Evans discovered infrared thermoreceptors in a pyrophile beetle.[38] 1965: First IR Handbook; first commercial imagers (Barnes, Agema now part of FLIR Systems
FLIR Systems
Inc. ; Richard Hudson's landmark text; F4 TRAM FLIR by Hughes; phenomenology pioneered by Fred Simmons and A.T. Stair; U.S. Army's night vision lab formed (now Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD), and Rachets develops detection, recognition and identification modeling there. 1970: Willard Boyle
Willard Boyle
and George E. Smith
George E. Smith
proposed CCD at Bell Labs
Bell Labs
for picture phone. 1972: Common module program started by NVESD. 1978: Infrared
imaging astronomy came of age, observatories planned, IRTF on Mauna Kea opened; 32 by 32 and 64 by 64 arrays produced using InSb, HgCdTe
and other materials. 2013: On February 14 researchers developed a neural implant that gives rats the ability to sense infrared light which for the first time provides living creatures with new abilities, instead of simply replacing or augmenting existing abilities.[50]

See also[edit]

Black-body radiation Infrared
non-destructive testing of materials Infrared
solar cells Infrared
thermometer Infrared
window List of infrared articles People counter


^ Sliney, David H.; Wangemann, Robert T.; Franks, James K.; Wolbarsht, Myron L. (1976). "Visual sensitivity of the eye to infrared laser radiation". Journal of the Optical Society of America. 66 (4): 339–341. doi:10.1364/JOSA.66.000339. (Subscription required (help)). The foveal sensitivity to several near-infrared laser wavelengths was measured. It was found that the eye could respond to radiation at wavelengths at least as far as 1064 nm. A continuous 1064 nm laser source appeared red, but a 1060 nm pulsed laser source appeared green, which suggests the presence of second harmonic generation in the retina.  ^ Lynch, David K.; Livingston, William Charles (2001). Color and Light in Nature (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-521-77504-5. Retrieved 12 October 2013. Limits of the eye's overall range of sensitivity extends from about 310 to 1050 nanometers  ^ Dash, Madhab Chandra; Dash, Satya Prakash (2009). Fundamentals Of Ecology 3E. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-259-08109-5. Retrieved 18 October 2013. Normally the human eye responds to light rays from 390 to 760 nm. This can be extended to a range of 310 to 1,050 nm under artificial conditions.  ^ Saidman, Jean (15 May 1933). "Sur la visibilité de l'ultraviolet jusqu'à la longueur d'onde 3130" [The visibility of the ultraviolet to the wave length of 3130]. Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences (in French). 196: 1537–9.  ^ Liew, S. C. "Electromagnetic Waves". Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing. Retrieved 2006-10-27.  ^ Michael Rowan-Robinson (2013). Night Vision: Exploring the Infrared Universe. Cambridge University Press. p. 23. ISBN 1107024765. ^ Reusch, William (1999). " Infrared
Spectroscopy". Michigan State University. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2006-10-27.  ^ a b "IR Astronomy: Overview". NASA Infrared
Astronomy and Processing Center. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2006-10-30.  ^ Haynes, William M., ed. (2011). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (92nd ed.). CRC Press. p. 10.233. ISBN 1-4398-5511-0.  ^ "Reference Solar Spectral Irradiance: Air Mass 1.5". Retrieved 2009-11-12.  ^ Byrnes, James (2009). Unexploded Ordnance Detection and Mitigation. Springer. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-1-4020-9252-7.  ^ "Photoacoustic technique 'hears' the sound of dangerous chemical agents". R&D Magazine. August 14, 2012. rdmag.com. Retrieved September 8, 2012.  ^ "Peaks of Blackbody Radiation Intensity". Retrieved 27 July 2016.  ^ Henderson, Roy. " Wavelength
considerations". Instituts für Umform- und Hochleistungs. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-10-18.  ^ ISO 20473:2007 ^ "Near, Mid and Far-Infrared". NASA IPAC. Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2007-04-04.  ^ a b Miller, Principles of Infrared
Technology (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992), and Miller and Friedman, Photonic Rules of Thumb, 2004. ISBN 978-0-442-01210-6[page needed] ^ Griffin, Donald R.; Hubbard, Ruth; Wald, George (1947). "The Sensitivity of the Human Eye to Infra- Red
Radiation". Journal of the Optical Society of America. 37 (7): 546–553. doi:10.1364/JOSA.37.000546.  ^ Ramaswami, Rajiv (May 2002). "Optical Fiber Communication: From Transmission to Networking" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved 2006-10-18.  ^ " Infrared
Radiation. Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia". Wiley Online Library. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved 16 February 2018.  ^ "Introduction to Solar Energy" (DOC). Passive Solar Heating & Cooling Manual. Rodale Press, Inc. 1980. Retrieved 2007-08-12.  ^ McCreary, Jeremy (October 30, 2004). " Infrared
(IR) basics for digital photographers-capturing the unseen (Sidebar: Black Body Radiation)". Digital Photography For What It's Worth. Retrieved 2006-11-07.  ^ a b c "How Night Vision Works". American Technologies Network Corporation. Retrieved 2007-08-12.  ^ Bryant, Lynn (2007-06-11). "How does thermal imaging work? A closer look at what is behind this remarkable technology". Retrieved 2007-08-12.  ^ Holma, H., (May 2011), Thermische Hyperspektralbildgebung im langwelligen Infrarot Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine., Photonik ^ Frost&Sullivan, Technical Insights, Aerospace&Defence (Feb 2011): World First Thermal Hyperspectral Camera for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ^ Mahulikar, S.P.; Sonawane, H.R.; Rao, G.A. (2007). "Infrared signature studies of aerospace vehicles" (PDF). Progress in Aerospace Sciences. 43 (7–8): 218–245. Bibcode:2007PrAeS..43..218M. doi:10.1016/j.paerosci.2007.06.002.  ^ White, Richard P. (2000) " Infrared
deicing system for aircraft" U.S. Patent 6,092,765 ^ Dangers of Overexposure to ultraviolet, infrared and high-energy visible light 2013-01-03. ISHN. Retrieved on 2017-04-26. ^ Digital ICE. kodak.com ^ "IR Reflectography for Non-destructive Analysis of Underdrawings in Art Objects". Sensors Unlimited, Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-20.  ^ "The Mass of Saint Gregory: Examining a Painting Using Infrared Reflectography". The Cleveland Museum of Art. Retrieved 2009-02-20.  ^ National Gallery Catalogues: The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings by Lorne Campbell, 1998, ISBN 1-85709-171-X, OL 392219M, OCLC 40732051, LCCN 98-66510, (also titled The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools)[page needed] ^ Infrared reflectography
Infrared reflectography
in analysis of paintings at ColourLex ^ "International Dunhuang Project An Introduction to digital infrared photography and its application within IDP -paper pdf 6.4 MB". Idp.bl.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-08.  ^ Jones, B.S.; Lynn, W.F.; Stone, M.O. (2001). "Thermal Modeling of Snake Infrared
Reception: Evidence for Limited Detection Range". Journal of Theoretical Biology. 209 (2): 201–211. doi:10.1006/jtbi.2000.2256. PMID 11401462.  ^ Gorbunov, V.; Fuchigami, N.; Stone, M.; Grace, M.; Tsukruk, V. V. (2002). "Biological Thermal Detection: Micromechanical and Microthermal Properties of Biological Infrared
Receptors". Biomacromolecules. 3 (1): 106–115. doi:10.1021/bm015591f. PMID 11866562.  ^ a b Evans, W.G. (1966). " Infrared
receptors in Melanophila acuminata De Geer". Nature. 202 (4928): 211. Bibcode:1964Natur.202..211E. doi:10.1038/202211a0.  ^ Campbell, Angela L.; Naik, Rajesh R.; Sowards, Laura; Stone, Morley O. (2002). "Biological infrared imaging and sensing". Micrometre. 33 (2): 211–225. doi:10.1016/S0968-4328(01)00010-5. PMID 11567889.  ^ a b c d Meuthen, Denis; Rick, Ingolf P.; Thünken, Timo; Baldauf, Sebastian A. (2012). "Visual prey detection by near-infrared cues in a fish". Naturwissenschaften. 99 (12): 1063–6. Bibcode:2012NW.....99.1063M. doi:10.1007/s00114-012-0980-7. PMID 23086394.  ^ Endo, M.; Kobayashi R.; Ariga, K.; Yoshizaki, G.; Takeuchi, T. (2002). "Postural control in tilapia under microgravity and the near infrared irradiated conditions". Nippon Suisan Gakkaish. 68 (6): 887–892. doi:10.2331/suisan.68.887.  ^ Kobayashi R.; Endo, M.; Yoshizaki, G.; Takeuchi, T. (2002). "Sensitivity of tilapia to infrared light measured using a rotating striped drum differs between two strains". Nippon Suisan Gakkaish. 68 (5): 646–651. doi:10.2331/suisan.68.646.  ^ Matsumoto, Taro; Kawamura, Gunzo (2005). "The eyes of the common carp and Nile tilapia are sensitive to near-infrared". Fisheries Science. 71 (2): 350–355. doi:10.1111/j.1444-2906.2005.00971.x.  ^ a b c Shcherbakov, Denis; Knörzer, Alexandra; Hilbig, Reinhard; Haas, Ulrich; Blum, Martin (2012). "Near-infrared orientation of Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus". Zoology. 115 (4): 233–238. doi:10.1016/j.zool.2012.01.005. PMID 22770589.  ^ Hargate, G (2006). "A randomised double-blind study comparing the effect of 1072-nm light against placebo for the treatment of herpes labialis". Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 31 (5): 638–41. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2230.2006.02191.x. PMID 16780494.  ^ Desmet KD, Paz DA, Corry JJ, Eells JT, Wong-Riley MT, Henry MM, Buchmann EV, Connelly MP, Dovi JV, Liang HL, Henshel DS, Yeager RL, Millsap DS, Lim J, Gould LJ, Das R, Jett M, Hodgson BD, Margolis D, Whelan HT (May 2006). "Clinical and experimental applications of NIR- LED
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External links[edit]

Find more aboutInfraredat's sister projects

Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews Texts from Wikisource Textbooks from Wikibooks Learning resources from Wikiversity

Infrared: A Historical Perspective (Omega Engineering) Infrared
Data Association, a standards organization for infrared data interconnection SIRC Protocol How to build an USB infrared receiver to control PC's remotely Infrared
Waves: detailed explanation of infrared light. (NASA) Herschel's original paper from 1800 announcing the discovery of infrared light The thermographic's library, collection of thermogram Infrared reflectography
Infrared reflectography
in analysis of paintings at ColourLex Molly Faries, Techniques and Applications – Analytical Capabilities of Infrared
Reflectography: An Art Historian s Perspective, in Scientific Examination of Art: Modern Techniques in Conservation and Analysis, Sackler NAS Colloquium, 2005

v t e

Electromagnetic spectrum

Gamma rays X-rays Ultraviolet Visible Infrared Terahertz radiation Microwave Radio

← higher frequencies       longer wavelengths →

Visible (optical)

Violet Blue Green Yellow Orange Red


W band V band Q band Ka band K band Ku band X band S band C band L band




Microwave Shortwave Medium wave Longwave

v t e


Acoustic, sound, vibration

Geophone Hydrophone Microphone Seismometer

Automotive, transportation

Air–fuel ratio meter Blind spot monitor Crankshaft position sensor Curb feeler Defect detector Engine coolant temperature sensor Hall effect sensor MAP sensor Mass flow sensor Omniview technology Oxygen sensor Parking sensors Radar
gun Speed sensor Speedometer Throttle position sensor Tire-pressure monitoring system Torque sensor Transmission fluid temperature sensor Turbine speed sensor Variable reluctance sensor Vehicle speed sensor Water sensor Wheel speed sensor


Breathalyzer Carbon dioxide sensor Carbon monoxide detector Catalytic bead sensor Chemical field-effect transistor Electrochemical gas sensor Electrolyte–insulator–semiconductor sensor Electronic nose Fluorescent chloride sensors Holographic sensor Hydrocarbon dew point analyzer Hydrogen sensor Hydrogen sulfide sensor Infrared
point sensor Ion selective electrode Microwave
chemistry sensor Nitrogen oxide sensor Nondispersive infrared sensor Olfactometer Optode Oxygen sensor Pellistor pH glass electrode Potentiometric sensor Redox electrode Smoke detector Zinc oxide nanorod sensor

Electric, magnetic, radio

Current sensor Electroscope Galvanometer Hall effect sensor Hall probe Magnetic anomaly detector Magnetometer MEMS magnetic field sensor Metal detector Planar Hall sensor Radio direction finder Test light

Environment, weather, moisture

Actinometer Bedwetting alarm Ceilometer Dew warning Electrochemical gas sensor Fish counter Frequency
domain sensor Gas detector Hook gauge evaporimeter Humistor Hygrometer Leaf sensor Psychrometer Pyranometer Pyrgeometer Rain gauge Rain sensor SNOTEL Snow gauge Soil moisture sensor Stream gauge Tide gauge Weather radar

Flow, fluid velocity

Air flow meter Anemometer Flow sensor Gas meter Mass flow sensor Water metering

Ionising radiation, subatomic particles

Bubble chamber Cloud chamber Geiger–Müller tube Geiger counter Ionization chamber Neutron detection Particle detector Proportional counter Scintillation counter Semiconductor detector Scintillator Thermoluminescent dosimeter Wire chamber

Navigation instruments

Airspeed indicator Machmeter Altimeter Attitude indicator Depth gauge Fluxgate compass Gyroscope Inertial navigation system Inertial reference unit Magnetic compass MHD sensor Ring laser gyroscope Turn coordinator Variometer Vibrating structure gyroscope Yaw-rate sensor

Position, angle, displacement

Accelerometer Angular rate sensor Auxanometer Capacitive displacement sensor Capacitive sensing Gravimeter Inclinometer Integrated circuit piezoelectric sensor Laser
rangefinder Laser
surface velocimeter Lidar Linear encoder Linear variable differential transformer Liquid capacitive inclinometers Odometer Photoelectric sensor Piezoelectric accelerometer Position sensor Rotary encoder Rotary variable differential transformer Selsyn Sudden Motion Sensor Tachometer Tilt sensor Ultrasonic thickness gauge Variable reluctance sensor Velocity receiver

Optical, light, imaging

Active pixel sensor Angle–sensitive pixel Back-illuminated sensor Charge-coupled device Contact image sensor Electro-optical sensor Flame detector Infrared Kinetic inductance detector LED
as light sensor Light-addressable potentiometric sensor Nichols radiometer Optical fiber Photodetector Photodiode Photoelectric sensor Photoionization detector Photomultiplier Photoresistor Photoswitch Phototransistor Phototube Position sensitive device Scintillometer Shack–Hartmann wavefront sensor Single-photon avalanche diode Superconducting nanowire single-photon detector Transition edge sensor Tristimulus colorimeter Visible-light photon counter Wavefront sensor


Barograph Barometer Boost gauge Bourdon gauge Hot-filament ionization gauge Ionization gauge McLeod gauge Oscillating U-tube Permanent Downhole Gauge Piezometer Pirani gauge Pressure gauge Pressure sensor Tactile sensor Time pressure gauge

Force, density, level

Bhangmeter Force gauge Hydrometer Level sensor Load cell Magnetic level gauge Nuclear density gauge Piezoelectric sensor Strain gauge Torque sensor Viscometer

Thermal, heat, temperature

Bimetallic strip Bolometer Calorimeter Exhaust gas temperature gauge Flame detection Gardon gauge Golay cell Heat
flux sensor Infrared
thermometer Microbolometer Microwave
radiometer Net radiometer Quartz thermometer Resistance thermometer Silicon
bandgap temperature sensor Special
sensor microwave/imager Thermistor Thermocouple Thermometer

Proximity, presence

Alarm sensor Doppler radar Motion detector Occupancy sensor Passive infrared sensor Proximity sensor Reed switch Stud finder Touch switch Triangulation sensor Wired glove


Active pixel sensor Back-illuminated sensor Biochip Biosensor Capacitance probe Carbon paste electrode Catadioptric sensor Digital sensors Displacement receiver Electromechanical film Electro-optical sensor Fabry–Pérot interferometer Fisheries acoustics Image sensor Image sensor
Image sensor
format Inductive sensor Intelligent sensor Lab-on-a-chip Leaf sensor Machine vision Microelectromechanical systems Photoelasticity Quantum sensor Radar

Ground-penetrating radar Synthetic aperture radar

tracker Sensor
array Sensor
fusion Sensor
grid Sensor
node Soft sensor Sonar Staring array Transducer Ultrasonic sensor Video sensor technology Visual sensor network Wheatstone bridge Wireless sensor network


List of sensors

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