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This New Camera Technology Can Detect Colour of Gases Invisible to the Naked Eye

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Last Updated: November 08, 2020, 12:44 IST

Image for representative purpose.

Image for representative purpose.

Gases like hydrogen, carbon and sodium, have a unique colour in the infrared spectrum. These gases have a colour but the same is not visible to the naked eye.

New research done by Tel Aviv University will now allow cameras to recognise colours that the human eye cannot perceive. It is in fact also being claimed that this light also cannot be perceived by ordinary cameras.

Research published in psy.org has mentioned a technology which can now make image gases. Gases like hydrogen, carbon and sodium, have a unique colour in the infrared spectrum. These gases have a colour but the same is not visible to the naked eye.

These colours of gases have a variety of applications in fields ranging from computer gaming and photography to security, medicine and astronomy.

The research has been conducted by Dr Michael Mrejen, Yoni Erlich, Dr Assaf Levanon and Prof. Haim Suchowski of TAU’s Department of Physics of Condensed Material.

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Dr Michael Mrejen said, “The human eye picks up photons at wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers—between the wavelengths of blue and red. But that’s only a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which also includes radio waves, microwaves, X-rays and more. Below 400 nanometers there is ultraviolet or UV radiation, and above 700 nanometers there is infrared radiation, which itself is divided into near-, mid- and far-infrared.”

Further substantiating the stance, the expert added, “In each of these parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, there is a great deal of information on materials encoded as ‘colours’ that has until now been hidden from view.”

The study mentions that the infrared detection technologies that currently exist are expensive and mostly unable to render those colours. In medical imaging, experiments have been done in which infrared images are converted into visible light to identify the cancer cells by the molecules.

However, this mechanism which involves conversion needs very sophisticated and expensive cameras, which are not easily accessible for general use. In the study, the researchers have been able to come up with a cheap and efficient technology that can mount on a normal camera.

Prof. Suchowski said, “We humans can see between red and blue. If we could see in the infrared realm, we would see that elements like hydrogen, carbon and sodium have a unique colour. So an environmental monitoring satellite could ‘see’ a pollutant being emitted from a plant, or a spy satellite would see where explosives or uranium are being hidden. In addition, since every object emits heat in the infrared, all this information could be seen even at night.”

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first published:November 08, 2020, 12:44 IST
last updated:November 08, 2020, 12:44 IST