Infrared light, also known as IR light or thermal light, describes electromagnetic waves beyond the spectrum of visible light. The infrared spectrum is divided into Near Infrared (NIR) = short wavelength, Mid Wave Infrared (MWIR) mid = wavelength and Far Infrared (FIR) long wavelength. Besides the usage of infrared technology in astronomy, computer-technology, chemical industry, in material production processing, for medicine and healing, there is also frequent usage in private homes for heating lamps, remote controls for television sets and stereo systems, for surveillance techniques and for smoke detectors.
Taking night vision pictures in a dark, cloudy night with infrared-technology works by capturing the areas' infrared light spectrum, which actually shows the heat that is emitted by those objects. These first IR-images are normally stored as false color images before they are transformed by built-in IR filters in usable black-and-green pictures or videos.
Most professionally installed night vision surveillance technologies use image enhancement like infrared surveillance cameras with IR illuminators to observe moonless or shady security objects. Nightly monitored results are available immediately. Further use of infrared techniques can be found in IR LEDs for electric barriers and in infrared sensors for smoke- or IR motion detectors.
The possibility to filter reflected heat of materials and living creatures with IR-technology provides many opportunities in various business branches. During industrial processing material defects or damages at electrical or mechanical production lines are found with precautionary thermographs. In health industries the combination of infrared systems with laser technology plays an important part for dentists as well as for skin and eye specialists for measuring (e.g. spectroscopy), for obliterating and for light-therapies.
In today's computer industries an IR-interface is indispensable for wireless connection between several hardware components. Similar is the importance of IR-connections for data transfer of digital cameras or hand phones. Infrared motion detectors equipped with infrared sensors and electric IR barriers have become important parts of daily traffic management. PIR alarm-systems (PIR = passive infrared) provide effective wireless home security for houses without a time-consuming installation. PIR-alarms are ready to detect burglars right after being attached to the wall and activated with an individual code number.
Especially for photography with infrared cameras and for the use of night vision glasses in moonless darkness night vision technology successfully creates images from the infrared spectrum. Sensors of CCD Security Cameras are based on the image enhancement technique and can recognize the whole bandwidth of visual light as well as infrared light spectrum next to it and are therefore built in Night Vision Security Cameras. With additional infrared illuminators the range of Wireless Infrared Security Cameras is actively increased and can reach better high resolution pixel images at night than with just image enhancement. With a professional IR illuminator you can monitor a person standing over 180m away in a dark night.
Infrared surveillance cameras provide high resolution pixel shots that are developed by an IR-filter from a so called false color thermal image into a black-and-green scene that is more easily observed. With additional software you can enlarge IR-images and it's even possible to zoom into single sectors of the nightly recorded video scene.
Although today's sensors of modern digital cameras are sensitive to infrared light, the use of infrared surveillance cameras with integrated infrared illuminators is eminent for effective safety and security. Without additional IR illumination you can just record a blur thermal image. Night vision surveillance technology with image enhancement capabilities will collect few amounts of light, including lower portion of infrared light and amplify it.
Only an additional source of IR-light guarantees 100% safety and independence of all light situations. The IR LEDs for ultra red illumination are normally visible on both sides next to the camera lens or all around the eye of the security camera. Wired and wireless surveillance video systems as well as smaller dome cameras or even tiny inconspicuous mini surveillance cameras can work as proper day and night security installation. With infrared LED illuminators you observe a nightly scene up to 200 yards.
IR-imaging = thermal image (false color image)