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Oct 01, 2020 | 02:59 pm 8364 1

When Was Thermal Imaging Invented and Who

When Was Thermal Imaging Invented and Who

In today's world, there are many technologies that increase a person's ability to see better, further and more clearly. In the last century, science has made a huge leap in qualitative development in this direction. One of the main areas where the armed forces are constantly modernizing military equipment in order to consolidate its superiority over the enemy is in night vision equipment. Although night vision equipment and specialized IR-illuminated optics for low light have been around for decades, there is no saying that these systems cope optimally with artificial and natural forms of camouflage.

It is well known that all objects having a non-zero temperature emit heat energy to some extent in the infrared range. Therefore, thermal imaging cameras can be used in absolute darkness and do not require external lighting or additional infrared lighting. Furthermore, thermal imaging systems have proven their worth in low visibility conditions caused by natural phenomena such as fog, storms, dense rainfall and even fire smoke.

When Was Thermal Imaging Invented and Who

In 1666, Isaac Newton discovered that the seemingly white sunlight was not white at all, but summed up from individual colors.

In 1800, Frederick William Herschel (1738-1822) undertook experiments in which he studied the individual colours of the spectrum of sunlight, spreading them out using a special prism.

Herschel measured the temperature of each colour, but in total, arithmetically, did not reach the temperature emitted by sunlight.

Long experiments didn't help to find the answer to the question. You can work 24 hours a day, but you have to have lunch.And during the lunch break, the scientist left a sensitive thermometer near the red part of the spectrum, and when he ate and returned to his workplace, he suddenly found that there was a significant increase in randomly measured temperature.

In this way the "missing" temperature was obtained, which in the spectrum lies beyond the "red" part of the spectrum visible to our eyes, i.e. in the visually invisible area.

So, he came to the conclusion that he found an area of new invisible radiation, indirectly, by the observed heating effect. Thus, the radiation received a clear thermal categorization.

In 1821, the German scientist Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered the effect of electromotive force (thermo EMF) - the occurrence of electricity under the influence of heat.

In 1834, the French inventor and watchmaker Jean Charles Peltier discovered a second thermoelectric effect when he discovered that a temperature difference arises at the junction of two different types of materials under the action of electric current. And there is the reverse process - creating voltage when heated. For example, a thermocouple that connects to a multimeter or digital thermometer works.

In 1878, Samuel Langley, believing that all life and activity on Earth was made possible by solar radiation, invented the bolometer, an ultra-sensitive radiant heat detector that distinguishes temperature variations of one hundred thousand degrees Celsius (0.00001 C).

This device, consisting of two thin metal strips, a measuring bridge, a power supply and a galvanometer (a device for measuring electric current), enabled it to study the light rays from the sun far away in its infrared region and measure the intensity of the sun's radiation at different wavelengths.

That's it, remote temperature measurement ! In those years.

Already by these examples from those distant times, we can see how the chain on the basis of which the algorithm functions: surface - outgoing infrared radiation - transformation into electricity.

We still lack a digital display, but we want a lot for the 18th century. The discoveries made then, already more than 100 years ahead of their time.

How Thermal Imaging Started

The first IR detector was patented in 1914.

In 1929, the Hungarian physicist Kalman Tihany invented an electronic television camera of infrared sensitivity (night vision) for the British air defense. The technology subsequently developed rapidly across the Atlantic Ocean.

First Uses of Thermal Imaging Cameras

In the second half of the 20th century another breakthrough in the field of thermal imaging was made by American companies: Texas Instruments, Hughes Aircraft and Honeywell. In the 1950s, American scientists working for the military-industrial complex (hereinafter referred to as MIC) were able to capture on film the first thermal image as a thermal image.

Later on, an American corporation called FLIR Systems picked up the flag as a pioneer in the development of thermal imaging systems, which was also initially focused on the army. Anyway, nowadays the results of development for the American MIC are being used in most of the basic industries of the world economy. Today, these devices are used in many areas of industrial activity, as they solve many technical issues. Production has developed not only as separate devices, but also as an integral part of civilian binoculars, sights for hunting weapons and other optical mechanisms.

You can find more information about thermal imaging here:
How to Avoid Thermal Imaging Devices
How to shield yourself from thermal imaging?
How Does Thermal Imaging Work?
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