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Much like some snakes use infrared to "see" at night, University of Central Florida researchers are working to create similar viper vision to improve the sensitivity of night-vision cameras.
The ability to enhance night vision capabilities could have implications in improving what can be seen in space, in chemical and biological disaster areas, and on the battlefield.
Study - UCF - Researchers - Night-vision - Work
A study detailing the UCF researchers' night-vision work appeared recently in the journal Nature Communications.
"With the infrared detector we've developed, you can extract more information from the object you're looking at in the dark," said Debashis Chanda, an associate professor in UCF's NanoScience Technology Center and the study's principal investigator.
Say - Somebody - Night - Night-vision - Goggles
"Say, you're looking at somebody at night through night-vision goggles. You're looking at his infrared signature, which is coming all over his body. He may have a hidden weapon that emits a different wavelength of infrared light, but you cannot see that even with a presently available, expensive, cryogenically cooled camera."
The infrared detector developed by Chanda and his team, however, doesn't need liquid nitrogen cooling it down to an extreme -321 degrees to be sensitive enough to detect different wavelengths of infrared light. It also operates much faster than existing night-vision cameras that don't require cooling, but are slow to process images.
Humans - Spectrum - Wavelengths - Nanometers - Spectrum
Humans see light in the electromagnetic spectrum that has wavelengths that are from about 400 to 700 nanometers long, which is known as the visible light spectrum.
In this research, Chanda and his team were working with much longer wavelengths that extend to about 16,000 nanometers.
UCF - Detector - Wavelengths - Domain - Objects
That allows the UCF detector to discern the different wavelengths in the invisible infrared domain. It does this by picking out different objects emitting different wavelengths.
Current night-vision cameras can't isolate the different objects based on their distinct infrared wavelengths...
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