Short Wave Infrared – Exploring the Invisible with SWIR Imaging

Welcome back to our Knowledge Base! In this edition, we delve into the fascinating world of Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) imaging and its significance in machine vision systems. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a developer, or simply curious about cutting-edge imaging technology, we hope you’ll find this exploration engaging and enlightening!

What exactly is Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Imaging?

SWIR imaging operates within a unique range on the light spectrum, typically between 950 to 2500 nanometers (nm).

Before we dive deeper, let’s understand the relationship between visible and IR light spectra.

Infrared imaging has proven exceptionally effective in capturing visual details beyond the surface of objects. Unlike visible light, SWIR imaging allows us to obtain information that would otherwise remain hidden.

SWIR imaging has found diverse applications across various industries, revolutionizing machine vision capabilities. Here are some key applications:

Food Industry:
(Moisture/bruise detection)

SWIR light interacts differently with water at specific wavelengths, making it easier to detect concentrated moisture. This ability is particularly useful in identifying bruising on fruit and vegetables, significantly improving fruit sorting and quality assessment.

SWIR Moisture Detection on Apples

Foreign Object Detection:

When objects share similar colours and shapes, differentiating them using visible light can be challenging. SWIR wavelengths, however, are absorbed and reflected differently depending on the material, facilitating the detection of foreign objects that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Sprinkles Inspection – Foreign Objects

Pharmaceutical – Compound Identification:
Under visible light, certain compounds may appear identical. However, SWIR wavelengths reveal distinct absorption patterns, making it possible to identify different compounds accurately. This capability is critical in the pharmaceutical industry.

Inspection – Heat Seals:

SWIR imaging can detect extremely hot features, which emit “glowing” signals in the shortwave-infrared part of the spectrum. This principle underpins thermal imaging technology, enabling precise temperature detection and analysis in various objects and materials.

Heat Seal Tool – Heat Detection with SWIR

Silicon Wafer Inspection:

SWIR imaging is invaluable in inspecting silicon wafers, as silicon becomes translucent at specific wavelengths. This allows for detecting foreign objects or imperfections on both the front and back sides of the wafer, providing comprehensive quality control.

Choosing the Right SWIR Imaging Components:

To ensure successful SWIR imaging in machine vision systems, selecting the appropriate camera and sensor is crucial. Not all sensors are designed for imaging outside the visible light spectrum, so careful consideration is essential.

Our top recommendations for SWIR cameras are from Xenics, who have developed industry leading SWIR InGaAs imaging cameras.


Bobcat-320 Series Infrared Camera by Xenics

At MultiPix Imaging, we are dedicated to providing machine vision solutions for non-visible imaging, with a wide range of high-quality components suitable for diverse industries.

For all your machine vision needs, feel free to explore our extensive range of products and get in touch with our knowledgeable experts. We’re here to assist you in finding the perfect solution for your project!