LightPath IR lenses selected for firefighting thermal cameras

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LightPath Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTH) (“LightPath,” the “Company” or “we”), a leading vertically integrated global manufacturer, distributor and integrator of proprietary optical and infrared components and high-level optical sub-systems, announced today that its Infrared (“IR”) 40 degree Field of View (“FOV”)  molded optical lens assembly has been selected for use in the manufacture of firefighting thermal imaging cameras by a leading supplier of integrated products and technologies for defense departments and federal, state and municipal government agencies worldwide.

Based on a report published in December 2014 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division of the Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, there is increased attention being given to thermal imaging research needs in an effort to support fire fighters, among other first responders.  LightPath’s thermal imaging IR product line enables the advancement of firefighting technologies and supports a key objective of reducing line-of-service deaths and burn injuries.  The report cites the need for creating an information rich environment for greater situational awareness, which may be attained by incorporating the precision and accuracy available through LightPath’s molded IR optics.

According to Maxtec International, Inc., a market research firm covering the infrared and thermal imaging industries, the Uncooled Thermography market in 2014 was $582 million and the demand for thermal imagers has been growing.  There are over 5 million fire fighters worldwide.  In the U.S., there are 1.1million firefighters and more than 35,000 fire departments that respond to nearly 2,000,000 fires every year, according to the National Fire Data Center.

Jim Gaynor, President and Chief Executive Officer of LightPath, commented, “We believe the availability of cutting edge infrared lenses and optical technologies to original equipment manufacturers, including some of the leading defense suppliers in the world, will drive increased adoption of this type of camera that enables fire departments and other first responders to more safely conduct their duties for mission critical success.  This is a very large and vital market where increased levels of government spending are being allocated to ensure the safety of both the firefighters and the people they protect.”

A thermographic camera (also called an infrared camera or thermal imaging camera) is a device that forms an image using infrared radiation, similar to a common camera that forms an image using visible light. Instead of the 450–750 nanometer range of the visible light camera, infrared cameras operate in wavelengths as long as 14,000 nm (14 µm).

Fire fighters may rely in part on a thermal imaging camera to navigate their way through a burning structure; therefore most imagers employ a wide FOV in the range of 40º to 60º. There are few cases in which a fire fighter would need to focus on an object less than 1 meter away, which encourages the use of relatively robust and lower cost fixed focal length optics that focus from 1 meter to infinity.*

LightPath’s catalog offers an optic products line that meets these and other specifications.

LightPath continues to develop improved capabilities for its IR product line and now offers two types of chalcogenide IR glass materials and several anti-reflective coating options that will cover most requirements in the commercial and military high-volume and small-size application markets.  LightPath’s new catalog offering of IR lens assemblies is stimulating interest in many areas of the market. LightPath is working closely with customer partners to develop both build-to-print and custom optics for new markets.  Product descriptions and other information on LightPath’s IR line can be found online here.