Infrared Measurement Technology

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Seeing what is invisible

Infrared sensors are used to make the invisible visible. Credit: DLR
Infrared sensors are used to make the invisible visible. Credit: DLR

Our eyes see the world in visible light. But this light is only a small part of the entire range of possibilities in the electromagnetic spectrum; by far the greatest part is invisible to our eyes. The radiance in these other parts of the spectrum always provides additional, not conventionally "visible" information. Using the infrared part of the spectrum lets us see with other eyes and thereby understand more of the world, since many objects normally invisible for us thereby become "visible".

We'll investigate the characteristics and possibilities of infrared radiation and use very modern high-tech equipment to make the invisible visible. Afterwards in a discussion we'll try to understand what appear to be mysterious phenomena.

Fawns have a guardian angel - infrared technology

During their first days of life, newborn fawns lie hidden in high grass and are visited by the doe only to be nursed. When danger threatens, they press themselves down close to the ground rather than flee. For this reason, tens of thousands of fawns are killed each year when meadows are mown. The photo on the right shows a fawn which could be discovered cowering in the high grass thanks to an infrared sensor. Since the grass and ground are cooler than the warm animal, a temperature difference can be detected by the sensor, which then sets off an alarm. The fawns allow themselves be picked up with odorless gloves and then put away safely in a dark box until the mowing is over and they can be released. Such fawns are readily accepted back by the doe without problem.

A lot of other things can be done with infrared technology, and in numerous situations we can really benefit from it.

With infrared we view the world in a different light

Follow in the steps of Sir Frederik William Herschel, who discovered infrared radiation in 1800. With our help you can conduct his historic experiment just the way he did it, and discover infrared radiation for yourself. But experimenting with highly sensitive infrared equipment is just as fascinating. Find out how it works and get acquainted with some of the applications. With an infrared camera you can even turn thermal radiation into visible images. You can discover your world from an entirely different perspective.