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Near-infrared Imaging (NIR)
Near-infrared imaging (NIR) is a nondestructive, noninvasive, and highly efficient method for localizing certain defects in photovoltaics and solar cells via electroluminescence. The technique is also a viable means of localizing defects in NIR fiber optic systems and lasers as well as monitoring high-temperature systems. NIR is currently seeing a growing field of application in pharmaceutical and polymers applications.
- Rapid assessment of solar systems
- Defect detection in NIR lasers and fiber optics
- Imaging through optically opaque but NIR transparent materials
- Well-suited for characterizing high-temperature systems
- Low temperature systems (which are better suited for infrared thermographic imaging (IRT))
- Microscopic inspection
Photograph (top) and NIR image (bottom) of a historic painting by Hans Memling (titled “Triptych of Jan Crabbe”) that portrayed John the Baptist and a monk. Near infrared light scatters from submerged paint layers and shows areas where the artist attempted several approaches – varying the right hand of John the Baptist and adjusting the position of the monk’s head.
- Best suited for sample areas >1cm2 in size, smaller samples should be assessed independently.
- Samples requiring fine probing are not well suited for this analysis – to see if your sample would be a good fit, please contact us
Near-infrared imaging works similarly to a standard optical camera/imaging sensor, but utilizes a unique solid state Peltier-cooled detector designed to detect light in the 900-1700nm wavelength range (just outside of the visible spectrum). Interestingly, most digital photography cameras today are actually able to detect NIR light and require specialized filters to ensure that only visible light is captured.
As brightness is perceived by standard optical cameras, NIR cameras too correlate the intensity of photon signals across a target wavelength range and interpolate this information for each pixel in an array covering the subject field of view.
Because NIR radiation is scattered and absorbed differently than visible light, NIR images can sometimes be clearer and more detailed than conventional photographs, capturing subjects obscured by overlayers of IR-transmissive materials.
When imaging high-temperature systems, NIR systems detect shorter wavelength than infrared thermographic imaging (IRT), and therefore can see regions with temperatures beyond what is perceptible to the IR system. Electromagnetic radiation is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero (-273.15 °C); objects with higher temperatures produce more radiation with shorter peak emission wavelengths. At very high temperatures, the wavelengths in a system become too narrow for conventional IR thermography, requiring NIR for characterization.
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