How Infrared Imaging Works
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Infrared Imaging Comes of AgePt. 2: Infrared Imaging: Demonstrating Its ValuePt. 3: The Benefits of Infrared ImagingPt. 4: This PagePt. 5: Expanding Applications For Infrared Imaging
Thermal imaging systems translate thermal energy into visible light. All objects emit infrared radiation. Infrared imaging systems use a lens, much like a conventional camera lens, to focus that radiation on a phased array of infrared detector elements.
The elements produce a detailed temperature pattern of the area or object being examined. The imager then displays the pattern on a screen for viewing. Depending on the particulars of the system, the temperature variations show up as different shades of grey or as various colors depending on the intensity of the infrared radiation.
— James Piper, P.E.