Thermal imaging cameras are quite commonly used these days and they are based on a rather innovative principle. These devices are also known as thermal imagers and they translate heat or thermal energy into images. Images produced by these devices are known as thermogram and objects are identified by the amount of heat generated. Microbolometer is a component used inside thermal imagers to sense any thermal energy. It is essentially an array of pixels made from vanadium oxide and amorphous silicone. Most objects, including people and cars, emit some amount of thermal energy which strikes the pixels in microbolometer.
This causes changes in electrical resistance, which can be translated into temperature values. Thermogram assigns colors to objects based on their heat intensity. Hotter objects will look blue and white, while colder ones will appear red and black. There are different factors that we need to consider before we choose a thermal imaging camera. In general, depending on our budget, we should choose an imager with the highest resolution. Higher resolution will result in clearer images on the screen and this is particularly important if we need to zoom at distant objects.
Another factor that we need to consider is thermal sensitivity. A highly sensitive thermal imaging camera could distinguish very slight difference in temperature. As an example, the camera will assign a new shade of color for objects with 0.05°C difference in temperature. The camera could offer other important features, such as the ability to connect the PC with USB interface. It means that we will be able to analyze images to create reports. Each imager model has specific selling points of features that make them more attractive and stand out compared to others. Some models are advanced enough to include multiple lenses for close-up, wide and telephoto.
High video output is essential for higher quality and the lowest amount that we should get is 60Hz or 60 image refreshes every second. We should be able to focus the lens manually or automatically. Because thermal imaging cameras are often used outdoor, it should be rugged and waterproof. There are three major manufacturers of thermal imaging cameras in the market. Flir has been in business in decades and their products are used for military and government applications. Models for civilian uses are available in multiple price points and costs of manufacturing for thermal imaging cameras have fallen in recent years.
Fluke has designed and manufactured equipments and instruments since the end of WW2. Its products are known for being rugged and reliable, appropriate for most industrial applications. Testo offers imagers with great value and excellent performance for different applications. We can use thermal imagers for different purposes, such as for home security and hunting. These imagers are also being used for medical purposes to gain an insight on the conditions of human. Disease and injuries could cause abnormal blood flows on different areas and this will result in detectable difference in heat.