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Calibrating Electro Optical Test Equipment with Blackbodies

26 June, 2017

Electro optical test equipment can be used for a variety of different purposes within the field of aviation, having both commercial and military uses. When you want a thermal camera that detects and measure infrared radiation accurately enough to use for practical purposes, it’s vital that this kind of equipment is configured and calibrated properly. Consider the how black bodies are used to make sure that thermal imaging devices work as intended.

Electro Optical Test Equipment

One of the most useful piece of equipment is a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera, which is used for the detection of infrared radiation and thus the production of thermal images. Such technology is reference tested before release by means of specially designed black bodies which theoretically absorb every wavelength of visible light. They emit a defined quantity of energy for any number of wavelengths, allowing you to plot a curve for the energy emitted for particular temperatures.

To create a source of constant and uniform radiance, you’ll need access to an integrating sphere. Such a device can be used to measure all kinds of electromagnetic radiation, meaning that it can be used to develop and calibrate ultraviolet light enhancement technology as well as infrared thermal imaging cameras.

Developing New Thermal Imaging Equipment

Electro optical test equipment can also be developed from scratch with the help of black bodies. As the radiation generated by such sources is predictable and stable, it makes things much easier when it comes to checking the operation of newly developed cameras. The accuracy that is afforded by prior testing with black bodies allows thermal imaging equipment to do amazing things in a wide range of ambient temperatures.

Such equipment could be used in frigid climes for aircraft to detect human settlements and thus potentially reach safety having been blown off course by a storm. In contrast, thermal imagery could help the Air Force to find the military bases of rogue states. All of this is only possible because of the predictable nature of specially developed sources of black body radiation.

Choosing a Source of Black Body Radiation

There are several pieces of electro optical test equipment which can be used to configure thermal cameras to fit a range of different functions. A cavity black body can be used for reference testing with extremely high temperatures, in some cases as much as 1200 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, you could opt to use an extended version for other purposes, including testing down to -40 degrees Celsius. With both types, you can configure them to provide a stable temperature that’s controllable down to several thousandths of a degree.

If you need access to a particular kind of custom black body or integrating sphere for the purpose of designing, developing and calibrating a thermal imaging device like a FLIR camera, you can actually get one specially designed for you. There are expert engineers who perfectly understand what you need to test out your new equipment.

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