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How Does An Infrared LED Illuminator Work?

Infrared light, also known as IR, is electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths and lower frequency than the visible light spectrum, which cannot be seen by the human eye. IR lighting provides visibility in complete darkness by means of a night vision device or infrared enabled video camera. Since infrared light cannot be seen by people or animals (except for certain reptiles), they can be observed without the camera and observer being detected.

A light emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source. When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence and the color and wavelength of light is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.

The IR LED Illuminators thus generate Infrared light that is actually invisible to the human eye. The infrared light is generated and emitted in the region of the spectrum that lies in the range of the camera. Night vision or day/night cameras incorporate the capability to catch this light and therefore creating clear images. The IR illumination can only be distinguished by the camera, but cannot be seen by the human eye. IR illuminators are made using arrays of LEDs that emit infrared light.

LED infrared lighting is far superior over traditional lighting sources, such as halogen flood lights or metal halide lamps, for a number of reasons:

  1. Lower energy consumption. LED’s offer the lowest possible running costs. No energy is wasted generating heat as in conventional lighting products.

  2. Superior quality of illumination. LED’s provide an even spread of light with no dark or bright spots.

  3. Longer product life and reliability, up to 100,000 hours.

  4. No maintenance since there is no bulb failure or down-time

  5. Instant start because there is no warm up time for full light output

  6. LED’s are suitable for even the most challenging of environments.

  7. Cool operation. LED’s emit no heat of consequence.

Because today’s day/night cameras and camcorders do not do an adequate job of providing enough light in order to capture clearly visible images or filming, an external infrared illuminator or a full spectrum illuminator is necessary. And an illuminator powered by an array of LED’s is the answer for ensuring that you capture clear and bright images and videos.

Most camera manufacturers do not specify sensitivity to infrared light and the only way to find out how well the camera will perform with infrared light is to test it. Finding out if your camera is infrared enabled is quite easy. Your TV remote control sends out an infrared signal. Just turn on your camera, point the remote at the camera lens and push any button on the remote. If you see a bright beam in your camera's viewfinder or screen being emitted from the remote, then your camera is infrared enabled. If you do not see anything when you press the remote, then your camera or camcorder is not night vision capable and an IR light will not work.

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