In the most basic of terms,

THERMAL IMAGING allows one to see & record the heat energy radiating from an object

All objects emit infrared energy, even very cold objects like ice.  An infrared camera is a non-contact, non-destructive device that measures thermal energy and converts it to a radiometric image.


The camera converts that infrared data into an electronic image that shows the surface temperature of the object/scene being measured.  An infrared camera contains an optical system (germanium lens) that focuses infrared energy onto a special detector chip (infrared sensor) that contains thousands of detector pixels arranged in a grid.

Each pixel in the sensor array reacts to the infrared energy focused on it and produces an electronic signal. The camera processor takes the signal from each pixel and applies a mathematical calculation to it to create a color map of the temperature of the object. 


Each temperature value is assigned a different color. The resulting matrix of colors is sent to memory and to the camera’s display as a temperature picture (thermal image) of that object.