Photo taken by an infrared camera equipped with a temperature-sensitive detector showing the various temperature fields (Image: Fraunhofer IMS)
The benefits of car night vision systems that enable drivers to see people or animals more clearly on dark, unlit roads have already started appearing in luxury cars. But these systems rely on near-infrared (NIR) radiation, which requires the cars to be fitted with infrared headlights to illuminate the road ahead. Falling into the “thermal imaging region”, Long-wavelength (LWIR) cameras require no such external light source but the sensors require constant cooling, adding to the cost and complexity of such devices. Researchers have now developed a new type of detector which functions at room temperature allowing it to be used in cars and other mobile applications.