What is low-light imaging? - Definition from WhatIs.com


low-light imaging

Part of the Electronics glossary:

Low-light imaging is a technology used to improve visibility in dimly lit environments. Low-light imaging, thermal imaging and near-infrared illuminations are the three most commonly used  night vision technologies. 

The most common method of low-light imaging uses a device called an image intensifier to amplify available light.  Here's a brief explanation of how an image intensifier works: 

  1. Available light is focused through the objective lens (the lens closest to the object being viewed) onto the photocathode (a photosensitive surface that emits electrons in response to light or other radiant energy) of the  image intensifier. 
  2. Electrons released by the cathode are accelerated by an electric field. 
  3. The accelerated electrons enter holes in a microchannel plate and bounce off specially-coated internal walls which generate more electrons as they bounce through. 
  4. This activity creates a denser “cloud” of electrons representing an intensified version of the original image. 
  5. The electrons hit a phosphor screen, making the phosphor glow. 
  6. The light displays the desired view to the user or to an attached camera or video device.

See also: photon, photonics

Source: Electrophysics Night Vision, a Group Sofradir Company

This was last updated in April 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • laser

    - A laser is a coherent and focused beam of photons; coherent, in this context, means that it is all one wavelength, unlike ordinary light which showers on us in many wavelengths. The acronym laser s... (WhatIs.com)

  • photon

    - In some ways, visible light behaves like a wave phenomenon, but in other respects it acts like a stream of high-speed, submicroscopic particles. (WhatIs.com)

  • IR LED (infrared light-emitting diode)

    - An IR LED (infrared light emitting diode) is a solid state lighting (SSL) device that emits light in the infrared range of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. (WhatIs.com)


  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About low-light imagingPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.