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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 13:45 EDT

The QWIP Detector: an Infrared Instrument

August 16, 2012

All objects emit infrared radiation and the characteristics of the infrared radiation are primarily dependent on the temperature of the object. One of the unique features of the new Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) instrument technology is the ability to, what engineers call “band gap.” This means it can spectrally respond to specific wavelengths. This video shows the evolution of taking this instrument from inception, to testing on the ground and from a plane, and ultimately to a NASA science mission. The applications are range from finding caves on Mars to looking for thermal pollution in rivers or residual hot spots in forest fires, or monitoring food spoilage.

credit:  NASA