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IR zoom lens applications

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IR zoom lens applications

This article will summarize the application of refractive and reflective infrared zoom lenses.

- Scene Projection and Simulation

An important application is the realistic testing of advanced missiles. This can be obtained by an electro-optic system operating in the 3~5μm or 8~12μm band, regenerating a target moving relative to the sky background, and observing it through the missile approaching it. An infrared zoom lens simulates the closing distance between the missile and the target.

- Wide and Narrow FOV Scanning Telescopes for Target Search and Recognition

The zoom capability is used to acquire the target in the WFOV mode, and then to recognize the target in the long focus length and NFOV. The zoom lens system uses a scanning mirror to scan FOV of the target.

- WFOV and NFOV FPA or CCD Surveillance, Tracking, and Target Recognition

An FPA or CCD can provide coverage for the FOV of the object without a scanning mirror in front of the zoom lens. Array sizes of 256 × 256, 512 × 512, 1028 × 1028 or larger have been processed and used in these optical systems.

- Battlefield Detection of Enemy Soldiers and Armaments

A zoom lens mounted on a tank or other mobile weapon system can detect enemy soldiers and weapons on the battlefield.

- Search and Rescue Operations

In these applications, infrared imaging is often combined with a daylight CCD camera system to provide a dual-spectrum capability. When optimizing the performance of the entire system, it is very necessary to match the field of view of the two systems. Since the daylight zoom lens can provide 15:1 or higher magnification, an infrared lens system with a large zoom magnification is necessary.

- Mineral Resource Surveys and Forest Fire Detection

The infrared zoom imaging system can also be used to detect forest fires. The reflective zoom system can form an image for multispectral earth observations by scanning along the track.

- Laser Scanning System  

Beam-expanding telescopes with variable magnification can be designed with large zoom magnifications for CO2 laser scanning systems.

- Cutting Sheet Metal with High-Power Lasers

A zoom lens for CO2 laser is used for high power laser in the range of 1~2kW to cut metal sheet. It must match the numerical aperture of the focused beam to the material thickness. The Rayleigh range should be about half the thickness of the material.  

- Observation of Solar Regions

The zoom lens is part of a system for observing the solar radiation annulus at several discrete wavelengths from ultraviolet to near infrared. This system requires constant resolution for the same imaging sample at each wavelength. For constant CCD sampling, each zoom position has a different focal length and f/#.

- Phone Camera

Compact mobile phones use zoom lenses with CCD detectors to enhance their picture-tacking capabilities.

In general, the possibility of future application of infrared zoom system is unlimited.

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