Filters are defined by their spectral transmission, and most of the types used in the machine vision industry will have associated transmission graphs like the one shown below.
Shortpass filters are designed with sharp cut-off wavelength from 615 nm to 850 nm. A broadband anti-reflection coating avoids troublesome reflections. Shortpass filters are ideal for fluorescence and wavelength sorting applications.
Longpass filters are designed with sharp cut-off wavelength from 400 nm to 820 nm. A broadband anti-reflection coating avoids troublesome reflected light. Longpass filters are ideal for fluorescence and wavelength sorting applications.
Neutral density filters
Neutral density or grey filters are used to reduce the transmission of light equally over the entire visible spectrum. Thus the light intensity is reduced without affecting colours and contrast. Typically used in front illuminated applications where light bleed can not be avoided simply by closing the aperture of the lens or by adjusting the camera settings.
Daylight cut filters
Daylight cut filters block visible light from contaminating the image information. The resultant image is only generated by the IR ranges of the spectrum to which the camera sensor is sensitive. The main use of these lenses is to make the application independent of ambient light such as the changing intensity of sunlight. By combining daylight cut filters with IR illumination, the resultant image is very consistent while visible light levels are changing.
UV cut filters and IR cut filters
UV cut filters are longpass filters that block the UV wavelength range and transit the visible light. They are used in front of a lens on a camera to protect the sensor from UV light, in the case when the camera offers no internal protection. In addition they are often used to protect the front lens.
IR cut filters are shortpass filters that block infrared light and transmit the visible light and are typically used with or built-in to colour cameras to mimic the photo responsivity of the human eye which is not sensitive to IR hence making colours appear similar to human perception.
UV/IR cut filters
UV/IR cut filters are a combination of a UV cut and an IR cut in one single filter, using UV cut absorptive glass with a thin film layer system that reflects infrared light. These filters are also called daylight pass filters and are used in strong sunlight or when certain artificial light sources are used to make the camera's image perception similar to that of the human eye.
Coloured filters in a wide range of tones are used to block certain wavelength ranges of the visible light. In machine vision applications they are used in front of a lens on a camera to improve image contrast.
The appropriate wavelength band (colour) has to be selected with respect to the colour of the object and the type or colour of the illumination.
Since they affect the composition of the transmitted light, they are usually not suitable for colour cameras. In the case where a colour filter is used on a monochrome camera, objects in the filter colour appear bright, whereas the complementary colour appears dark.
Polarisation filters are used to reduce reflections and highlight materials that inherently polarise light. Light in one polarisation direction is removed, whereas light in the respective perpendicular direction is transmitted. In practical applications one polarisation filter is mounted in front of the illumination source and another one in front of the lens. Polarisation filters on a lens in a rotating threaded mount allow the direction of polarisation to be adjusted. In machine vision applications mainly linear polarisation filters are used. Circular polarisation filters can be used combined with a λ/4 plate to turn the polarisation direction by 45°.
Bandpass and interference filters
Bandpass and interference filters allow only very small wavelengths to pass. Wavelengths above or below the transmission band are blocked or reduced considerably. A typical application is the observation of fluorescent particles, but they can also be used to protect the sensor against laser radiation. Bandpass filters are available in a number of different formats. Our specialists look forward to helping you to select the appropriate filters for your applications.
Our portfolio includes standard filters available with all common filter threads, suitable for any lens/camera combination. However, we can also supply custom filters for non-standard applications on request.