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Sensing & Measurement

Blackbody source for IR radiation


Optikos Corporation's new BBS-200 Blackbody Source is a reference source of infrared radiation similar in geometry to the primary standard of the National Physical Laboratory (UK). The blackbody is designed to emit the maximum possible flux at any given temperature. It is used to make a range of important measurements in the 2-14 µm thermal wavebands and is particularly useful for calibrating thermal imagers and radiometers.

The BBS-200 Blackbody is heated and cooled by a recirculating water bath connected to it with insulated hoses with self-sealing quick-disconnect connectors. In an improvement over similar designs, the BBS-200 features a double-helix water jacket in which water is circulated in the cylindrical heat exchanger from the front to the back and from the back to the front simultaneously so as to minimize thermal gradients along the cavity. Additionally, the BBS-200 features for the first time a separate water jacket for heating and cooling the reentrant cone at the base of the cavity, thereby improving both the uniformity and ramping rate of the source over similar designs.

One of the most important features of the BBS-200 is the incorporation of a motorized shutter into the design. The shutter closes off the cavity while the blackbody is changing temperature, thereby shortening the settling time and minimizing proximity heating of the instrument being calibrated. Although the shutter may be opened and closed by hand, using the motorized control allows lengthy calibrations to be carried out automatically.