Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, in collaboration with Polaris Sensor Technologies Inc., have developed a new type of thermal imaging camera that allows soldiers to see hidden objects that were previously undetectable.
Kristan Gurton, an experimental physicist in the computational and information sciences directorate, and Sean Hu, an electronics engineer in the sensors and electron devices electorate, are leading the effort.
“Researchers have known for about 30 years that man-made objects emit thermal radiation that is partially polarized — for example, trucks, aircraft, buildings, vehicles, etc. — and that natural objects like grass, soil, trees, and bushes tend to emit thermal radiation that exhibits very little polarization,” Gurton said. “We have been developing, with the help of the private sector, a special type of thermal camera that can record imagery that is based solely on the polarization state of the light rather than the intensity.”