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First off, let me state that I'm not entirely sure this is the right forum for this question. This was the only section I found multiple questions pertaining to thermal imaging, however, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I have a FLIR Lepton camera that I am experimenting with, with the intention of using it outside.

I found this forum and someone was asking the same question. A few material types were suggested from the Lepton data brief, including “Common materials for LWIR windows include silicon, germanium, and zinc selenide”.

My main question is why do these materials work so well? How is it that they allow the transfer of thermal energy (not sure if I'm wording that the best way) while something like glass insulates and doesn't allow it? Are some of them better for certain applications, like outside?

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    $\begingroup$ Well, they recommend silicon, germanium, and zinc selenide. I suggest following their recommendation of using one of those for the window. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 18 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ I understand that would be the best option, but my main question boils down to why do these materials work better than, say, normal glass? What is it fundamentally about them that allows transfer of thermal energy? I'm not even sure if I'm wording my question right. I've edited my question to try and clarify. $\endgroup$ – ConcernedHobbit Mar 21 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ They are semiconductors. Photons below the band gap go through without (much) absorption. Photons above band gap get absorbed in the window and do not affect the detector. So, it also acts as a filter for the visible. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 21 at 15:50

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