Night Vision and Thermal Systems

Infrared laser

So how does an infrared laser work? To understand this, you must first know about the light spectrum. A light wave has amounts of energy that is related to its wavelength, which in turn determines how visible it is to the eye. The visible light spectrum has all the colors that the human eye can see, of which in the highest level is violet and the lowest is red. Next to the visible light spectrum, laid out is the Infrared Spectrum.

It has three categories namely: Near Infrared, the closest to visible light and has wavelengths from 0.7 to 1.3 microns; Mid-Infrared, the near-IR and mid-IR are commonly used by electronic devices such as remote controls, has wavelengths from 1.3 to 3 microns, and; the thermal infrared which occupies the most part of the infrared spectrum that has wavelengths of 3 microns to 30 microns.

The IR laser is invisible, at least to the human eye. But when used in combination with other gear, emitted IR radiation enhance night vision equipment view area through lightning up the front position with invisible to human eyes light and at the same time enhance light gathering capabilities of the equipment.

Infrared laser illuminators has been widely used by hunters, night time outdoor enthusiasts, law enforcement and military forces for target acquisition and additional artificial lightning when natural light is to low for night vision devices like night vision goggles, night vision monoculars or night vision rifle scopes. Although most of these devices has artificial IR sources build in, they are often are based on IR LED technology which for longer ranges are not so effective as highly concentrated laser diode light beam.

The surveillance industry also improving due to the innovation of infrared laser in the industry. Compared to IR LED based infrared illuminators, infrared laser diodes based infrared illuminators has far way wider ranges of illumination and cameras, whether surveillance or spy cams, can easily record scenes and places in the dark with more than enough illumination without actually spreading out perceivable light.

Various kinds of infrared laser modules are used for military only dedicated gear like laser guided weapons and propelled rockets. Almost any developing country has plans or already build some prototypes of high tech battlefield network systems with target acquisition and range finding, up to date battlefield information sharing and other important military tasks where infrared laser modules play their role for whole system function.

At present day night vision market has wide choices of possible infrared laser illuminators dedicated for civilian and military and law enforcement. Most popular models for civilian market are often 808nm IR diode based systems for better comparability with older Generation 1 and Generation 2 devices, while dedicated to LEO and military gear usually use 940nm wavelength based systems for more covert operation mode. Due high power emitted by this type of illuminators, most of devices has changeable power settings to avoid over exposure on shorter ranges.

Infrared light can make serious damage to your eyes, extreme caution must be considered and protective eye war used when work with any kind of laser equipment.

Categorised as: Night Vision

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