The Advantages of SWIR Cameras for Surveillance

SWIR camera vision

Most countries throughout the world have increased security measures at their borders, airports, and other points of entry. But governments aren’t the only organizations making enhancements to their surveillance. Businesses are also improving security. Thanks to a number of advantages, companies are using short wave infrared (SWIR) cameras to meet their surveillance needs.

How SWIR and SWIR Cameras Work

To understand SWIR, you might need a little refresher on how these wavelengths fit into the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum contains everything from radio waves to microwaves to gamma rays. It also includes visible light and short wave infrared. SWIR cameras detect SWIR wavelengths instead of visible light.

Even though scientists have known about infrared radiation since the 1800s, practical use has only been available in recent years due to the availability of Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) sensors. These sensors work in dark conditions and need no cooling system. InGaAs sensors can also be made small enough to fit into compact devices. They use very little power, making them extremely portable.

Advantages of SWIR Cameras

The scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere often results in a blue haze overlaying distant scenes. SWIR wavelengths aren’t scattered and can penetrate foggy or smoky conditions in long-range reconnaissance, unlike visible light cameras. SWIR wavelengths also aren’t usually affected by heat haze or atmospheric temperature variances that trouble thermal imagers.

SWIR cameras compliment thermal imagers for enhanced vision or to cut through interference like poor weather resulting in low visibility. It can be difficult to interpret a scene with thermal systems. Thermal imagers are great for detecting an anomaly but SWIR is better at helping to identify what that object is.

Since no visible illumination is needed, SWIR allows for covert surveillance. SWIR can also pick up lasers and beacons, making them an ideal surveillance method to discover hidden structures or mobile teams. Whether a national threat or a group of thieves, SWIR can easily detect the presence of nefarious intruders.

SWIR cameras can even help with biometrics. Natural and artificial materials appear in the SWIR part of the spectrum. Human hair is reflective and appears white. But artificial hair will appear dark. This allows security personnel to give special interest to those who might have disguised their appearance with prosthetics.

SWIR cameras also work well when imaging through glass. This means that special lenses aren’t required and conventional, cost-effective visible light lenses can be used. Since robust, hardened housings are already available for visible light lenses, SWIR image sensors are a great choice for retrofitting an existing surveillance installation with minor modifications.

Ready to give your surveillance tech a boost? Check out the SWIR cameras available from Phase 1 Technology.