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NASA builds first four-color infrared camera

Scientists investigate the environmental impact of Africa’s vegetation burning with the first-ever four-band infrared camera. A collaboration between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and IQE claims to have produced the world’s first four-band infrared camera.

Based on quantum-well infrared photodetector (QWIP) technology, the camera is suitable for applications including weather prediction and remote sensing of pollution, such as the detection of nitrous oxide in smog. It has already been used as part of an international project investigating the environmental impact of vegetation burning and related ecological effects in Africa.

The camera’s four QWIP channels allow detection of radiation at wavelengths of 3-5 µm, 8-10 µm, 10-12 µm and 13.5-15.5 µm, and combine to give a pixel resolution of 640 by 512.