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How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

In the modern world, high-tech solutions are often the difference maker when it comes to the success or failure of a military operation.

Leaders in the industry are constantly looking for new ways to modernize their equipment to optimize their performance, amplify their defense, and succeed in every mission.

Soldiers on the frontline are given access to the latest combat technologies in order to subdue enemy targets and defend their military bases. One of the most critical technologies they use today is thermal imaging.

In this article, we’ll cover how thermal imaging works, how it’s used in combat, and why American Technologies Network Corporation (ATN) is the best-in-class choice for thermal imaging solutions.

Let’s begin.

What is Thermal Imaging?

Thermal imaging is a method primarily used by the military to improve the visibility of objects in a low-visibility environment.

Thermal imaging is a modern technology that uses infrared radiation and thermal energy to interpret information about the heat from objects. It then uses this information to form images, particularly when operating in low-visibility environments.

This technology has grown to provide a wide range of uses over the years. One of the most common uses is to offer vision in low-light or zero-light environments. It’s powerful because it can work in the absence of any light. Whether you’re out in the pitch black, or in an environment filled with fog, smoke, or haze. Thermal imaging is one of the greatest inventions, not just for the military, but for use worldwide.

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

Every object on earth emits heat. Another word for heat is “infrared energy” which acts as a function of an object's temperature. When infrared energy is emitted by an object, it’s known as a heat signature.

Generally speaking, the hotter something is, the more radiation it will emit. A thermal imager—or thermal camera—is essentially a heat sensor. However, the more advanced the technology is, the more capable the thermal imager will be in detecting tiny differences in temperature for better clarity and vision.

Thermal imagers work by collecting infrared radiation information from objects. It then translates this information into an electronic image showing a picture based on temperature differences.

Thermal Imaging vs. Night Vision

The main difference between thermal imaging and night vision is that night vision needs nearby light to work properly. On the other hand, thermal imaging doesn’t need any amount of light to function properly.

Night vision essentially amplifies nearby light, whereas thermal imaging simply uses heat detection to map out objects in the line of sight.

Another difference is that night vision takes a scene and translates it into a green-tinted image. Thermal imaging, however, translates heat signatures into a variety of yellow, orange, or red images.

Military Applications for Thermal Imaging

In 1929, Hungarian physicist Kálmán Tihanyi invented the first thermal imaging camera for anti-aircraft defense in Britain.

Ever since then, armies have developed a long list of military applications for thermal imaging. Here are some of the main military applications:

Infantry Equipment

One of the most well-known uses of thermal imaging is within infantry equipment.

Frontline troops are always at the forefront of military technology. Military leaders are constantly looking to spearhead new technologies to advance their infantry gear – especially when it comes to thermal imaging.

For instance, infantry can attach a thermal imaging sight to their weapon’s rail interface. The sight will typically offer two operating modes – infrared and video. The image can be sent to a screen, a helmet-mounted eyepiece, or night-vision goggles.

They use thermal imaging in binoculars and monoculars which can include a variety of features like laser pointer, rangefinder, GPS, and a magnetic compass.

Motion Detection

Another military application for thermal imaging is motion detection.

This plays a crucial role in a logistics support area (LSA) and automatic target recognition systems (ATR). Thermal imaging technology in this use needs to be capable of detecting and identifying targets.

Passive infrared sensors are one primary feature of modern thermal imaging technology. As the backbone of motion detection systems, the passive sensors offer long-range performance regardless of the weather.

Vehicle-Mounted Sights

Most military operations include some level of travel. This prompted the development of thermal imaging technology for combat vehicles. The military needed long-range thermal imagers to be mounted on vehicles.

Vehicle-mounted sights enable armed forces to identify and hone in on any threats quickly.

Military Base Defense

The other primary use of thermal imaging within the military is as a base defense technology.

Military bases are one of the most targeted locations for enemy forces or terrorists. Fortifying bases with effective perimeter security is critical to ensure the safety of military personnel.

Military forces can use robust thermal imaging systems to detect and identify potential threats quickly, respond promptly, and take the right course of action.

Why is ATN The Best In-Class Military Thermal Imaging?

Curious about how to choose the right thermal imaging solution?

When you’re out in the field, or you’re back at base, there’s nothing more important than using high-quality military gear. Using one thermal imaging product over the next could mean the difference in a life saved or not.

One of the main differentiators between thermal imaging technologies comes down to the resolution and clarity of images they provide. ATN is the market leader of 4K resolution digital smart optics for day and night operation. Their best-in-class SMART HD technology is at the heart of all ATN devices.

They offer superior thermal imaging solutions for the military, law enforcement, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Bottom Line

We’re proud to partner with the leading Tech Optics company in the U.S. ATN is revolutionizing the way the military integrates thermal imaging into their operations.

Here at ADS, we’re proud to offer a wide range of innovative tech optics solutions for any application—whether professional such as military or law enforcement or hobbyist such as hunting or outdoors.

Request a quote from us today for thermal imaging products.

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