Dedal D-336 GT thermal imaging device

Generations in night vision

What ist this?

The principle of action of NV-devices is based on transformation of the photons reflected from the object to electrons, the subsequent multiplication of electrons and return transformation to the photons perceived by a human eye. To provide such transformation and strengthening of light a device named image intensifier tube (IIT) is used. According to their design they belong to three generations: 1st, 2nd+ and 3rd.

First generation IIT now are applied for amateur (not professional) applications. All versions of these IIT have common design and as a rule work in condition of high light level that is formed either by moonlight or by IR illuminators. Luminance gain in 1st gen IIT is up to 1000 times.


2nd and 2nd+ gen IIT with micro channel plate (MCP) inside vacuum tube became the result of the next step in the development of IIT.  Working principle of IIT with MCP is shown on picture 2.

Picture 2


MCP multiplies electrons produced by the photocathode by several hundreds times, though MCP itself has small size. That made it possible to design high quality NV-devices of a relatively small size. Not very high value of photosensitivity in IR spectrum can be referred to the disadvantages of this type of IIT which is shown on the diagram of picture 3.



Picture 3

At the present moment 3rd generation image intensifier tubes have the highest performance available.The use of the high-efficiency photocathode based on gallium arsenide (GaAs) differs 3rd gen tubes from 2nd+ gen tubes. GaAs provides maximum photocathode sensitivity in the IR spectrum so that NV devices can be covertly used at very low light levels. The diagram of photocathode sensitivity of 3rd gen IIT is illustrated on picture 3. 

These performances are taken into consideration in design and production of professional NV devices by JSC Dedal-NV. Our lens systems assure the best image quality, use all the advantages of IIT and form the most comfortable image for human eye.

Generations do not define the technical values and performances of the image intensifier tube!