Near infrared or NIR infrared technology works all around us; yet, many of us don’t even know they exist. Most near infrared or NIR instruments work on the principle that any particular material will react to a small portion of the total electromagnetic spectrum range.
There are a number of different methodologies used to measure many different areas of the spectrum which gives rise to many different types of NIR instruments. The only NIR instrument we’ve probably heard about is the prism; but there are a lot of more complex NIR instruments out there that have actually been serving us without our knowledge.
NIR infrared technology is actually used by the U.S. Department of Defense. Soldiers’ uniforms are tested with certain NIR instruments to determine if they can be detected by NIR Image Converters, devices that detect infrared radiation signals. Usually, NIR infrared compliant uniforms are made with a special fabric that allows the soldiers wearing them to emit the same infrared radiation as the surrounding area. This makes them nearly invisible to NIR instruments used to detect infrared signals. NIR infrared technology also reduces the reflection of light on the soldiers’ uniforms, effectively camouflaging them in low-light environments.
Other NIR instruments, like NIR spectroscopes, are used in astronomy. NIR spectroscopes use diffraction gratings, movable slits and different types of photo-detectors, which are controlled by a computer.
Have you ever wondered how astronomers were able to determine that Jupiter was composed, mostly, of gases? They used a NIR spectroscope to do that. This type of NIR infrared instrument utilizes light to determine the composition of heavenly bodies, the distance those celestials are to us, and much more.
But, of all the NIR instruments in the world, the near infrared spectrometer probably has the most practical use. A near infrared spectrometer or NIR spectrometer is a devise used to gauge the properties of light over a determined area of the electromagnetic spectrum. Its most common use is for NIR infrared spectroscopic analysis or to identify different materials from the way they react to the light over the spectrum. The NIR spectrometer is most commonly used in agriculture, chemical analysis, food analysis, and many more; and aren’t these the things closest to our everyday lives?