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Overview of infrared

Infrared has longer wavelength than visible light (red). The light in the range from 0.75§­ to 1000§­ electromagnetic waves are categorize as infrared.
The categorization of infrared ranges are NIR (below 1.4§­, Near Infrared), SWIR (1.4~3§­, Short-Wavelength Infrared), MWIR (3~5§­, Mid-Wavelength Infrared), LWIR (8~14§­, Long-Wavelength Infrared), and FIR (longer than 20§­, Far Infrared).
This categorization is based on atmospheric transmitting characteristics of infrared light, which is very useful for observation owing to its high transmittance. User can select the range among different infrared bands according to the purpose of their system.


Division Contents
Military 1) Panoramic sight in main battle tank or armored vehicle
2) Thermal instrument for homeland security, coastal surveillance, and smuggling surveillance
3) Imaging IR seeker in precision guided weapon (missile or munition)
Medical 1) Imaging system for medical diagnosis
Industry 1) Insulation inspection of air conditioning or heating in a building
2) Excess heating or cooling of Electrical and electronic equipments
3) Loss in electricity transmission line
4) Test and development of semiconductor or PCB
5) Failure detection in manufacturing process
6) Thermal load distribution in manufacturing process
7) Diagnosis for fatigue of materials
8) Non-destructive Test (NDT)
Space 1) Surface weather observation from satellite.
2) Surface weather observation from satellite.
Surveillance system and fire protection 1) Surveillance for intrusion and fire 2) Saving a life in fire circ§­stance 3) Safety driving for automobile and train at night 4) Surveillance for taking off and landing aircraft at night 5) Surveillance for ecosystem and environment
Driving assistance 1) Driving assistance for automobile, bus and truck at night

Importance of Thermal Image

Commercial / Civilian

Variety of uses in field of earth exploration, disaster prevention and astronomical observation in commercial / civilian.

Earth exploration

Research the variation of the weather regarding the evaporation of water vapor and soil moisture by using calibration of infrared images from various wavelength bands of infrared.


Research the status of biological resources or mineral reserves, exploration, marine resources and ocean currents.

Disaster prevention

Thermal infrared images can find the origin of forest fires or volcanic eruptions. Research the oil spill detection and monitoring red tides if different of IR band information are collected.

Industry and daily life

Applicable to building maintenance and security systems


There is very important to detect the thermal image of infrared wavelength band of in the field of the military. Once using the infrared image and visible light image, it can improve detecting performance and maximize reliability. In addition, the infrared observation is able to detect the heat of the target itself, the infrared imaging is possible for poor condition during the night and is effective for continuous monitoring all day and night

Overview of InSb, QWIP

Measure InSb QWIP
Wavelength range Fixed 5.5um (@77K) Tunable by bandgap engineering
8 to 15um
QE(Quantum Efficiency) > 85% < 20%
Cooling Required
70 to 90K 30 to 75K
Array size 2040x2048 astronomy
512 x 512 tactical
1024 x 1024 in development
Uncorrected Response uniformity 2 to 5% 0.5 to 2%
Operability Typically > 99.5% even for large array High > 99% reflects mature GaAs processing
Production yield High yields even for large arrays High yields per GaAs MBE processing
Comment Very mature technology
Cooling is drawback
HOT detectors are being developed
Useful in high background, short range applications
Peaked QE
Moderate to low QE (< 10%)
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