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Short-wave infrared (SWIR) imaging is a specialized technology that operates in the 0.7 to 1.7 μm wavelength range. It is known for its ability to capture images in low-light conditions and through certain materials, making it a popular choice in industrial and scientific applications.

Cameras designed for this spectrum use InGaAs sensors, known for their sensitivity to infrared light. This allows for detailed imaging in low light or through obscurants like fog and smoke, which is ideal for industrial inspection, security, and scientific research. InGaAs SWIR cameras deliver high-resolution images with minimal noise, which is crucial for precision applications.

In this blog we will cover key factors to consider when selecting an InGaAs SWIR camera, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your technical requirements and application needs.

What is an InGaAs Sensor?

Using a unique and proprietary technology, NIT has developed and invested in a manufacturing line of InGaAs (Indium, Gallium, Arsenide) sensors. InGaAs absorb IR light invisible to silicon and convert incident light into electrons digitized by the read-out integrated circuits (ROIC) and the camera electronics. Adding this array to ROIC can be a challenging task in design and engineering.

One of the critical steps is the 3D stacking of the photodiode array to the read-out circuit, for which NIT has developed an innovative flip chip process ensuring the CMOS read-out circuit at a sub-micron precision high yield and low cost of production.

This not only enhances the quality and performance of the cameras but also significantly reduces production costs while maintaining high yields. NIT's dedication to advancing InGaAs technology reflects its commitment to delivering superior infrared imaging equipment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an InGaAs SWIR Camera

1. Understanding Your Application Requirements

Different applications may require different spectral sensitivities, resolutions, frame rates, and operational specifications. For instance, if you need a camera for high-speed industrial sorting, you’ll prioritize a high frame rate and good sensitivity. For applications in scientific research, you might need a camera with a higher resolution and better noise performance.


2. Spectral Sensitivity

Spectral sensitivity is crucial as it defines the wavelength range in which the camera can effectively capture images. Most InGaAs SWIR cameras cover a spectral range from about 900 nm to 1700 nm. Some applications require a camera that can go beyond this standard range, either into the visible wavelengths below 1.7 μm or into the mid-wave infrared between 3 to 5 μm range.


3. Resolution

The resolution of a SWIR camera is determined by the number of pixels on the sensor. Higher resolutions allow for finer image detail, which is important for detailed inspections or advanced surveillance applications. Consider the resolution necessary for your application, as higher-resolution cameras can be more expensive.


4. Frame Rate

Frame rate refers to how many images the camera can take in one second. A higher frame rate is essential for capturing fast-moving objects without blur, making it a critical factor for applications such as monitoring manufacturing processes where clarity and precision are crucial.


5. Cooling Requirements

InGaAs sensors are often cooled to reduce noise and improve image quality, especially in low-light conditions or when long exposure times are needed. Determine whether your application will benefit from a cooled camera. Keep in mind that cooling technology can add to the complexity of the camera system.


6. Software Compatibility and Integration

Ease of integration with existing systems and software is another factor. Ensure the camera’s software is compatible with your systems and that it can be easily integrated into your existing setup. Cameras, like the WiDy SenS 320 often have easy integration into existing setups.


Latest NIT InGaAs SWIR Camera

One of the newest models in NIT’s lineup is the NiT WiDy SenS 320 High-Speed SWIR Camera, a cutting-edge addition to their WiDy SenS 320 series. This camera features an impressive 10kHz (ROI) frame rate, dynamic range of 120dB, and minimum exposure time of 1µs, all seamlessly integrated into a USB 3.0 interface.

The WiDy SenS 320 features a dual-response InGaAs sensor, capable of delivering detailed images crucial for precise analysis. An adjustable integration time from 10μs to 1s provides great flexibility to meet different lighting conditions and application needs.

WiDy SenS 320 Features and Specifications

  • Max Frame Rate: Up to 10000 Hz with Region of Interest (ROI)
  • Interface: USB 3.0 for fast data transfer
  • Sensor: NSC2001T-SI, optimized for SWIR imaging
  • Pixel Pitch: 15um, enabling detailed image resolution
  • Cooling: Thermoelectric (TE) cooled to enhance image quality and stability
  • Sensor Response: Unique dual-response (Linear and Logarithmic) InGaAs sensor
  • Resolution: QVGA resolution at 15µm pixel pitch for sharp images
  • Exposure Time: Minimum 1µs, allowing for quick adjustments to varying light conditions
  • Compatibility: Fits 30mm cage system, ensuring easy integration into existing setups

One of the key advantages of the WiDy SenS 320 is its ability to operate in both high dynamic range (HDR) and low-light conditions. This dual-mode operation allows users to capture clear images in varying lighting without changing settings or cameras, making it incredibly versatile.

Choosing the right InGaAs SWIR camera involves understanding your needs and how various camera features meet those needs. The WiDy SenS 320 offers a combination of high-speed imaging, robustness, and advanced technology, making it a top choice for professionals seeking a high-performance SWIR camera.

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If you are looking for custom-engineered high-speed cameras to meet your needs, our Tech Imaging team is here to assist you. To speak to one of our representatives, call 800-613-8180 or reach us online if you have questions.

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