Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Does Night Vision Technology (Image Intensification) Work?

Night vision optics work by using image intensifier tubes built into the equipment. These tubes amplify light, which is then picked up by the device.

Night vision image intensifiers pick up photons from the immediate surroundings and convert them to electrons. These electrons are then sent through a micro-channel plate, which amplifies them thousands of times.

This provides the user the appearance of more light and visibility than there is with the natural eye. But even though night vision goggles and other such devices work in low light conditions, they don’t work in complete darkness.

NVD image enhancement capability tends to rely on a small amount of light somewhere in the immediate vicinity.

What Is Night Vision Used For?

Night vision goggles and other products have a variety of uses. Civilian ownership of these devices is usually for such applications as hunting, wildlife observation, and surveillance at home. For instance, night vision technology can be a game changer for adventurers who enjoy camping, hiking, night photography or birdwatching.

Law enforcement teams use night vision technology to improve tactical operations at night or conduct surveillance operations.

This is also true for Military applications. Night vision works well for combat professionals, allowing them to collect data and survey dangerous situations when no bright light source is available or present.

What are some Night Vision (Image Intensifier) terminologies?

Image Intensifier Tube -

A night vision image intensifier tube is the heart and soul of your night vision device.  The Intensifier tube is what gives you the ability to see at night. An Image Intensifier does this by taking in photons of light, converting them into electrons, then amplifying the electrons, and converting the amplified electrons back into photons. 

This process lets the user operate in very dark environments with very little light.

Figure of Merit (FOM) -

Figure of Merit, also known as FOM, is the result of multiplying a tubes center resolution and signal to noise ratio values together. FOM is used as a primary benchmark for tube performance.

At Nocturnal Optics. we believe that there are three major FOM performance benchmarks on offer at our store that end users can use to judge what system is right for them.

The three benchmarks are a 1400, 1600, and 1800-2000+ FOM. Although these benchmarks are not everything, they can be used to determine what price point and performance level is a good fit.

Resolution -

Resolution is the ability of an image intensifier tube or night vision systems to resolve an image. Night vision tube resolution is measured in Line Pairs per Millimeter (lp/mm). This is accomplished by using a bar chart on a night vision test set. With resolution, the higher the number the better.

A higher resolution indicates a tubes ability to distinguish fine details and differences in objects extremely close together.

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) -

Before we can define signal to noise ratio it is important to understand what signal and noise are independently. Signal is the true light that is being picked up by the photocathode. This is what turns into the image you see as the tube amplifies this light. Noise is the scintillation that a tube puts off. This is seen as a sparkle effect in the tube. So the signal to noise ratio (SNR) is the ratio of signal to noise in your image intensifier tube. The higher the SNR the more signal there is compared to noise in a tube.

This directly correlates to low light performance as less light is hitting the photocathode the noise is more pronounced. A higher SNR will perform better in low light conditions.

Signal to noise ratio is multiplied with the center resolution to determine FOM.

Photocathode -

An image intensifier tube has three main components (or layers) that give the tube life. The photocathode is the first of the three layers. The photocathode absorbs light energy in the form of photons and releases electrical energy in the form of electrons. Gen 3 image intensifier tubes use a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) photocathode which provides improved resolution and light sensitivity.

Photocathode Sensitivity -

Photocathode sensitivity is the measure of how well a photocathode in an image intensifier tube converts light energy into electrical energy. Photocathode sensitivity is measured in micro-amps/lumen (µA/lm).

Microchannel Plate (MCP) -

The second main component (or layer) in an image intensifier tube is the microchannel plate (MCP). The microchannel plate is a disk which consists of millions of holes or channels in the disk. The channels in the MCP amplify the electrons produced by the photocathode. The number of channels in the microchannel plate is a major factor in determining resolution.

Phosphor Screen -

The final component (or layer) in an image intensifier tube is the phosphor screen. The phosphor screen is a screen coated in phosphors. The phosphors on the phosphor screen are stimulated by the multiplied electrons from the microchannel plate. This causes the phosphor screen to convert the electrons back to photons, or light, which produces the image that is seen by the user.

What batteries should I use with my Night Vision Device?

We recommend using lithium batteries for all of our night vision devices. DO NOT use rechargeable batteries. Please make sure batteries are taken out of the device when you are done using it.

How/ when do you ship your products?

All of our items are shipped via Tracked Australia Post Express.

Special Order Items as indicated on some of our product pages incur a standard Lead time and are shipped 4-6 weeks after purchasing.

Are your products controlled?

Items that are export controlled, as indicated on their associated product pages, require an Australian Defence Export Permit.

Currently, the UMNVD Housing Kits (no Intensifier Tubes) are not controlled and are free to export from Australia as ruled by the Defence Exports Control Office (DECO).

Can I export my Night Vision equipment outside of Australia?

Currently, the export of Image Intensifier Tubes (IITs) falls under the regulation of Defence Export Controls in Australia.

In order to export these controlled Dual-Use Military technologies outside of Australia, a permit or license is required from the Defence Exports Control Office.

Failure to obtain the necessary permit or license for exporting IITs may result in fines and other penalties.

It is important to note that IITs can be imported into Australia without restrictions. However, when it comes to exporting these technologies, the appropriate permit or license must be obtained to ensure compliance with the regulations set by the Defence Exports Control Office.

What Warranty do you offer with your housings?

All items manufactured by Nocturnal Optics come standard with a Lifetime Warranty.

This means that if any component of your housing, which is originally manufactured and supplied by Nocturnal Optics, needs replacement at any point during the lifespan of the product, we will provide a new component free of charge (excluding shipping fees on behalf of the customer).

Please read through the Shipping, Warranties and Returns page under the Store Policies navigation bar on our page for more information.

Do you offer distribution for your Products?

Please use the Contact Page on our website to send distributer enquiries for more information.

What Countries do you ship to?

As part of our obligations to Australian Defence Export Controls and relevant treaties, Nocturnal Optics only ships Export Controlled technologies (Night Vision Tubes, Thermal Imaging Equipment) to countries specified on the Defence Trade Control Act (DTCA) 2012 - Foreign Countries List (FCL). -

These countries include:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.