How Does an Infrared Temperature Sensor Work?

An infrared temperature sensor will monitor infrared light. Infrared radiation cannot be seen by the naked eye and typically measures heat. The measurement for infrared is in microns. The range runs from 0.7 microns to 1000 microns. Almost any type of moving part or object will emit some amount of infrared light. These are used in many different things including vehicles.

LED Infrared Sensors

This type of sensor will transform the infrared light into an electric current. This electric current is then measured by an amperage or voltage detector. These sensors can be used for motion detectors. One infrared sensor will detect the infrared light and another will emit an alarm. These sensors will send out signals and when an object comes into the path then that light will be returned back to the sensor more quickly than before which will set off the alarm.

How are They Used?

These types of sensors are used for many different applications. The military uses infrared sensors for surveillance, target acquisition, night vision, tracking and homing. There are many other non-military uses that include wireless communication, thermal efficiency analysis, security, weather forecasting, spectroscopy and temperature sensing. There is a special type of astronomy that uses infrared sensors on telescopes to look into very dusty spots of space, view objects from the start of the universe and to detect planets.

Different Sensors

You can find different sensors that will measure a different range of infrared radiation. A full spectrum sensor will actually contain several different sensors. You should be able to change what you want the sensor to measure. Motion detector infrared sensors are normally set for a range around 93 degrees, which is the temperature of humans and animals.

Wireless and Handheld

There are wireless and handheld sensors that you can use. A handheld temperature sensor looks a bit like a gun. You point it to what you want to read. These are non-contact sensors so it does not need to be touching the object it is measuring. These tend to take readings very quickly and will come with a laser sight for accurate measurements. There are also wireless models available so the handheld sensor will send the readings directly to your computer.

Application to Cars

Infrared sensors are used in vehicles mainly to optimize performance. The infrared of each different part will be known for its best performance. For example, you can monitor the tire heat which is important in car racing. If your engine gets too hot, then you can damage the engine and decrease the engine power. A thermal sensor can let you know when things get too hot as many other sensors will start to fail and parts will stop working if things get too hot.

Application to Manufacturing

Infrared sensors are used in manufacturing plants in the same way that they apply to cars. It is necessary for moving parts and machines to stay in a specific temperature range to work properly. This increases productivity and quality. You also can head off machine problems. If the sensor goes off then something is close to breaking. These sensors have many different applications.