What’s the difference between visible and SWIR lenses?


An example of SWIR light

19 Jan 2022

Short-wave Infrared (SWIR) lenses are designed to operate in the 0.9-1.7 µm wavelength region. SWIR is close to visible light in that photons are reflected or absorbed by an object, providing the strong contrast needed for high-resolution imaging. SWIR is great for the Machine Vision and the Health & Sciences Industries because water vapor, fog, and certain materials such as silicon are transparent. SWIR imaging is also helpful because similar-looking colors visible to the human eye are easily differentiated using SWIR lenses.


How does it work?

SWIR lenses are like visible cameras in the way they detect reflected light. Photons in the SWIR wavelength are reflected or absorbed by objects, allowing for high-resolution imaging with a strong contrast. This kind of technology is the only wavelength technology that can pierce through cloud coverage and capture a well-defined image.

For our ViSWIR series, according to Mr. Katsuya Hirano, Chief Optical Designer, CBC Group, for fully-corrected focus shift in visible and SWIR range (400nm-1,700nm): “By using ultra-low dispersion glass and low partial dispersion glass paired with superior design technology developed from Computar’s extensive optics experience, the focus shift is minimized within a few micron mm at a super wide range of wavelengths. With this, spectral imaging is achievable with a single sensor camera by simply syncing the lighting.”

With Computar's ViSWIR HYPER-APO lens series, it is unnecessary to adjust focus for differences. By adopting an APO floating design*, the focus shift is reduced at any wavelength and any working distance. This function makes SWIR lenses ideal for multiple applications, including machine vision, UAV, and remote sensing.


Which lens is the best for my industry?


For the Machine Vision Industry as well as the Life Sciences Industry, we recommend our ViSWIR Series. These lenses achieve a clear and precise image visible to the SWIR range by applying a multilayer coating to absorb the specific light. A higher-resolution lens gives you greater specificity in designing and implementing the most efficient vision solutions. So, for medical devices and robotics, this is great for detail work and other short-range imaging.

For the Intelligent Transport Systems Industry and Government and Defense, a blend of visible and SWIR would be most helpful—visible imaging for distance and SWIR for detailed imaging.

Some lenses, such as ours, are designed to perform well with for both visible and SWIR, enabling cost-effective and performance imaging systems for a range of applications.

* Specific floating mechanics to realize Apochromat design.


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