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Infrared Imaging

Infrared imaging is a very common safety, security, surveillance, and intelligence-gathering imaging technology.  Although the infrared (IR) range is large, from about 700 nm (near IR) to 1 mm (far IR), the STG addresses those IR bands of the greatest importance to the safety and security communities.  These bands (shown graphically in Figure 1) are the near IR (NIR, about 750 nm to 1.5 μm), typically used for perimeter/site/building security, both indoor and outdoor; and the long-wave IR (LWIR, about 7 μm to 15 μm), typically used in outdoor security applications, long-range surveillance and intelligence gathering, and firefighter applications.  NIST is developing the metrology to establish objective test and evaluation protocols for these imagers and, in collaboration with the University of Texas – Austin, possibly developing new objective image quality metrics, and develop methods for correlating these new metrics or traditional image quality metrics to human task performance.

Infrared Imaging
Figure 1. Nominal infrared spectrum.  Courtesy of  

Discussion: LWIR: TIC results: BRFL, NVL, UT-Austin

The Security Technologies Group, in collaboration with other researchers at NIST, developed a generic protocol to correlate certain image quality indicators with the ability of human operators to perform perception-based tasks.  This protocol was applied to the thermal (or long-wave infrared) imaging cameras (TICs) used by firefighters.  There are many applications for TICs, and each may have a unique set of image quality metrics.  Therefore, we focused on the 85 % or greater use case, which is the identification of hot spots behind wall board, concealed under carpeting and rugs, and concealed by fabrics. {need more}

Discussion: MWIR: U Houston results

In collaboration with other researchers at NIST, the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, and the University of Houston’s Computation Physiology Lab, we developed protocols to measure the correlation between stress and observable changes in MWIR.



Created May 4, 2017, Updated August 15, 2023