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New Invention, thermal laser. Thought Experiment

elitedangerous

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Hey guys, so our current military uses IR lasers with Night Vision (NV) for being able to point stuff out (per say). Thermal vision is far superior to Night Vision in almost all aspects. But one major drawback is thermal cannot pick up an IR laser as thermal doesn't use light but heat.

Anyone have any suggestions to help lead us down this path? I know its asking alot as lasers don't convey heat (well may heat up or such at point)...but anyone hear of or have any ideas for progression towards this?

If we could use thermal and see a laser, well it would be huge.

This is just a thought exercise, that if successful could lead to some major advancements in alot of sectors, not just military.
 



Encap

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FYI: A laser beam has no temperature - there is no inherent "temperature" to a laser beam. Heat is produced by the random motion of matter particles (atomic or molecular particles). A laser beam itself is not made of matter but of photons, which have no mass, thus a laser beam can have no temperature. "Heat" can be caused by a laser beams energy being absorbed by a materials surface and turning light energy into heat energy
 

elitedangerous

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FYI: A laser beam has no temperature - there is no inherent "temperature" to a laser beam. Heat is produced by the random motion of matter particles (atomic or molecular particles). A laser beam itself is not made of matter but of photons, which have no mass, thus a laser beam can have no temperature. "Heat" can be caused by a laser beams energy being absorbed by a materials surface and turning light energy into heat energy
Exactly. Thats why I said in my post that a laser beam doesn't produce heat. Thats why I asked for a think tank of everyone to see if there was a way we could possibly make it happen. Hey E=MC^2.

My guess is the only way to would be to create such a high powered beam that on contact it heated the dot instantly.

Thanks though for your input and for making it very clear. There has got to be a way to...I hope and only can dream.

Also this is mainly a thought experiment. Who knows what all everyone has discovered.
 
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gazer101

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You do realize that thermal vision just uses a lower frequency (emitted as blackbody radiation from any objects above absolute zero) than night vision to accomplish basically the same thing right?

Just get a 7500nm (wiki says FLIR thermal cameras detect EM radiation in the 3-12 μm range) laser and (assuming there is sufficient Rayleight scattering by the atmosphere at that frequency, AFAIK such deep infrared experiences barely any scattering/is harder to see) you will be able to see its beam using thermal vision
 

Alaskan

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The only solution I can think of is to digitally combine both technologies, have a sensor for each, sample the data and use a computer to place them together and generate a hybrid display to view. This is all you want anyway, isn't it?
 

elitedangerous

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You do realize that thermal vision just uses a lower frequency (emitted as blackbody radiation from any objects above absolute zero) than night vision to accomplish basically the same thing right?

Just get a 7500nm (wiki says FLIR thermal cameras detect EM radiation in the 3-12 μm range) laser and (assuming there is sufficient Rayleight scattering by the atmosphere at that frequency, AFAIK such deep infrared experiences barely any scattering/is harder to see) you will be able to see its beam using thermal vision
Liking your thoughts on this. And yes I know how thermal works. Nightvision uses the amplification of light (starlight, moonlight, ect). You get into a cave and night vision doesn't work without an IR light assistance.

Thermal on the other hand creates an image basically as you said, by the thermal/heat/ir produced from objects. Therefore works in the absence of light such as moon or star.

Using IR light amplifiers with NV is a hassle and doesn't work as great as one thinks. I was in the military for 7 years as an infantryman and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. So I used both nighvision as well as thermal quite a bit, in fact just about every day/night when I was in country.

I also went to college for 4 years and studied Engineering Physics.

In fact the current solution they are using has no need for some insanely creation of a laser as they use systems that combine NV as well as thermal overlays.

Again this was just a thought project. I have several ideas for more as well. Thanks for the input this is a very good answer.
 
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elitedangerous

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The only solution I can think of is to digitally combine both technologies, have a sensor for each, sample the data and use a computer to place them together and generate a hybrid display to view. This is all you want anyway, isn't it?
Ya thats what is being done currently. It works great at night when outside. The problem with Night Vision though is when you go into a cave or into a building or such that is void of any light (no star or moon light) then Night Vision doesn't work without the use of IR lights. And if you've ever used IR lights they are not the best.

The reason I like thermal is it can be used in the day, night, in a cave, ect as it builds a picture from the IR/heat differences and has no bering on light.

In fact if someone turns on a flashlight pointed at you w NV then it will flash blind you. Thermal you don't even know.

But using a combo of both is an awesome tech!
 

Alaskan

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I know daylight will damage true night vision tubes in a split second, so I guess you would need to make sure there is no voltage to the amplifier tube when much light is present. I don't know this technology, maybe there is a fast enough protection circuit to solve that.
 

elitedangerous

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I know daylight will damage true night vision tubes in a split second, so I guess you would need to make sure there is no voltage to the amplifier tube when much light is present. I don't know this technology, maybe there is a fast enough protection circuit to solve that.
Yes they do. Both NV and Thermal are great devices. I just personally like thermal. When using an IR light it actually creates a light bounce off effect of say a bush (as an example) which makes the front of it super bright therefore if someone was hiding in or behind the bush you may not see them.

Thermal on the other hand doesn't have any problems such as that. As far as I know the only reason they use Night Vision over thermal is due to the IR laser that a soldier can aim with.

Thats why if we could figure out some way to create a new tech (laser type device) that worked with thermal then it would greatly improve our abilities. For all these reasons I have stated in above messages why I prefer Thermal over NV.

But yes definitely never turn on NV in the day. A Thermal can though with no difference of day or night, other than Night creates a slightly more clear picture as things begin to cool and not have the sun best down on them.

You can train with NV in the day. They make caps with tiny holes that limit the amount of light coming in, but its not something I would want to do with a personal pair.

And before anyone says something about thermal and depth perception, Night vision has the same problems. Its actually created from a single monocular tube. If you close one eye and walk around it also throws off your depth perception.
 

RA_pierce

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FLIR will detect small differences in "heat." So if you have a sufficiently powerful, invisible to the naked eye laser, when you project it onto a target that can sufficiently absorb the light, the projected beam will have a recognizable heat signature.
You won't see the beam, of course, but is that really necessary?
Of course, the obvious choice would be to use an IR laser for this but then that opens up the possibility that other persons that may be equipped with IR cameras will detect it. As long as the laser is out of the range of the usual IR camera's detectable spectrum, it should be ok.
Alternatively, you could go with UV which is much more impractical but, as far as I know, nobody is using UV imaging on the battlefield in normal operations.
 

elitedangerous

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FLIR will detect small differences in "heat." So if you have a sufficiently powerful, invisible to the naked eye laser, when you project it onto a target that can sufficiently absorb the light, the projected beam will have a recognizable heat signature.
You won't see the beam, of course, but is that really necessary?
Of course, the obvious choice would be to use an IR laser for this but then that opens up the possibility that other persons that may be equipped with IR cameras will detect it. As long as the laser is out of the range of the usual IR camera's detectable spectrum, it should be ok.
Alternatively, you could go with UV which is much more impractical but, as far as I know, nobody is using UV imaging on the battlefield in normal operations.
Nice! Thanks for the input. And yes I am sure just a dot would suffice. Definitely something U will look into. Again thanks!
 

Unown (WILD)

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I'm liking this thread. Aren't lasers being used to cool down objects? Maybe instead of heating something why not going the other way and cooling down? Any object with heat will have a cold spot from the laser. Dunno if this is an idea or not but was worth a try
 

elitedangerous

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I'm liking this thread. Aren't lasers being used to cool down objects? Maybe instead of heating something why not going the other way and cooling down? Any object with heat will have a cold spot from the laser. Dunno if this is an idea or not but was worth a try
Nice thinking! I've heard a little about this. Definitely something to look into. Nice way to think outside of the box! Let us know if you find out anything more or hear anything more on this. I will as well!
 

CurtisOliver

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Thermal cameras don't see 'heat' they just see the IR emissions. Have a laser within this band and the camera will pick it up the light as a intense 'heat' source. To see the beam would rely on the same reason we see a visible laser beam. Enough light needs to scatter and hit the camera.
And yes, lasers can cool objects. Sodium atoms have been commonly cooled with its resonant wavelength ~589nm.
 

Cyparagon

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There are safer methods of pointing something out to another party that doesn't give away your position.

Here's an old poor-quality video I took (2011? wow) of a regular 1W 445nm as seen by a FLIR I7. It ghosts a lot. It's essentially like using a violet pointer on glow-in-the-dark material.
 




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