High speed infrared imaging

High speed infrared imaging

What is high speed imaging?

High speed imaging is taking pictures at a high frame rate using a short exposure time. High speed imaging in the visible spectrum covers many applications. For example in automotive crash test analysis or studies of supersonic motion of flying bullets.

Typical high speed imaging applications often require SWIR or MWIR imaging. We offer cameras that generate more than 300 (MWIR) or 1700 (SWIR) frames per second at a resolution of 640x512. Even higher frame rates are possible when using a small region-of-interest within the full frame of 640x512 pixels.

What is high speed imaging used for?

MWIR cameras are used as high speed radiometric and thermal cameras. For example in thermal signature detection, tracking or analysis of aircrafts, missiles or rockets. Thermal tracking of fast moving objects, like missiles, benefits from the addition of a high speed SWIR camera. Thermal cameras detect hot gasses and thermal plumes easily, but SWIR cameras offer more detail and resolution when imaging the (cooler) metal body or debris.

High speed SWIR cameras find application in free-space optical communication systems. These systems are based on Nd-YAG 1.06 µm or eye-safe 1.55 µm lasers. High speed SWIR cameras are used to track communicating transceivers to maintain optical links, or as a wavefront sensor in satellite communication systems. These wavefront sensors are part of an adaptive optics system. They take the larger optical link distances in free space communication into account by correcting for atmospheric distortions.

What do we offer?

High speed infrared cameras need to have high sensitivity levels as the exposure times will be small. Next to this, they need to have the highest possible frame rates and the ability to go to small regions-of-interest (ROIs) to increase frame rates even further. Synchronization via an external trigger connector can also play an important role. 

We offer the Cheetah-640-CL, the world's fastest SWIR camera. It has a frame rate of 400 Hz up to 1730 Hz in full resolution, which even can be windowed down to further increase the frame rate. And by using its trigger in- and output you can fully finetune the camera to your application. 

What features are needed?

  • High frame rate
    We offer frame rates up to 1730 Hz in SWIR and 460 Hz in MWIR. Our cameras can even be faster when you reduce your region of interest
  • Short exposure time
    A short exposure time is necessary in high speed imaging to reduce image blur
  • High thermal sensitivity
    Thermal cameras need to have a high sensitivity level (low NETD) to detect the smallest temperature differences
  • Large dynamic range
    An IR camera with a large dynamic range covers a large temperature area
  • Low read noise
    Low read noise results in high sensitivity for low light signals
  • Digital high speed interface
    A digital interface like CameraLink, GigE or CoaXPress is necessary to assure reliable and fast data transfer
  • Trigger interface with low jitter
    A trigger interface with low jitter is a necessity for high speed applications to synchronize the camera

Are you looking for more information? 

Let us know. We are happy to help.

Contact us


Press Releases
Cheetah-640 for high speed SWIR imaging at BiOS & Photonics West We demonstrate the world's fastest InGaAs SWIR camera at BiOS & Photonics West (2008)
Release of our Cheetah-640CL, the world's fastest SWIR InGaAs camera We released our Cheetah-640CL, the world's fastest SWIR camera with a full frame rate up to 1730 Hz.
Xenics: High end Cheetah-640 aims at high speed SWIR imaging Xenics releases high-speed SWIR InGaAs camera Cheetah-640 (2008)
Release of its high-end, power PC-based, high speed imaging system Cheetah
Application notes
High speed SWIR imaging with the world's fastest SWIR camera The Cheetah-640CL is the fastest SWIR camera in the world.
SWIR cameras can see through crude oil The behaviour of small water drops falling through a viscous oil, can be investigated by using a SWIR camera. In the infrared spectrum from 900 to 1700 nm, any crude oil is nearly transparent. Why should one be interested in looking at water drops in oil?

Extreme compact size and low weight

Given the extremely compact size and low weight of the Xenics XS-1.7-320 SWIR camera it was extremely easy to integrate it into our existing optical setup.

University of Strathclyde