Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras are specialized devices used to detect gas leaks and visualize gas emissions that are invisible to the naked eye. These cameras are particularly useful in the oil and gas industry, environmental monitoring, and various industrial applications where gas leaks pose safety, economic, and environmental risks.

How Do OGI Cameras Work to Spot Gas Leaks?


Principle of Operation


Infrared Absorption: OGI cameras operate based on the principle that certain gases absorb specific wavelengths of infrared (IR) light. Each gas has its unique spectral fingerprint, meaning it absorbs infrared radiation at specific wavelengths.

Thermal Imaging Technology: At their core, OGI cameras are a type of thermal imager. They detect the infrared radiation (heat) emitted by objects and convert it into a visible image. However, unlike standard thermal cameras, OGI cameras are tuned to the specific wavelengths absorbed by the gases of interest.

Spectral Filtering: OGI cameras use spectral filters to isolate the wavelengths of light absorbed by the target gas. By focusing on these wavelengths, the camera can detect the presence of gas by observing the difference in infrared radiation at these specific wavelengths compared to the background. When the target gas is present, it absorbs the infrared radiation, leading to a reduction in the detected radiation at these wavelengths, which the camera visualizes.

Learn more about our IP-based EXO GeminEye OGI Camera.

Gas Detection and Visualization


Visual Representation: The OGI camera converts the infrared data into a visual image, displaying the gas cloud as a plume or cloud that can be seen against the background of the scene. This allows operators to easily identify and locate leaks.

Sensitivity and Selectivity: The sensitivity of an OGI camera to a specific gas depends on the camera’s ability to detect small differences in infrared absorption at the target wavelengths. Selectivity, or the ability to distinguish one gas from another, relies on the use of specific spectral filters and the unique infrared absorption properties of each gas.

Find more info about gas detection specifically in our post Gas Detection with Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) Cameras.

Applications and Benefits


Safety and Efficiency: OGI cameras enable quick identification and repair of leaks, significantly improving safety by reducing the risk of explosions and exposure to harmful gases. They also help in reducing economic losses by minimizing the amount of gas lost to leaks.

Environmental Compliance: By detecting and enabling the repair of gas leaks, OGI cameras play a crucial role in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants, helping facilities comply with environmental regulations.

Versatility: OGI cameras can detect a wide range of gases, including methane, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them versatile tools for different industries.

Overall, OGI cameras represent a powerful tool for non-invasive, real-time detection of gas leaks, combining advanced infrared imaging technology with specific gas absorption characteristics to visualize and pinpoint gas emissions.

The IP EXO OGI is an optical gas imaging camera that is the professional’s choice to monitor oil and gas applications and provide maximum operational safety and flexibility. As the world moves toward protecting the environment and creating a safer workspace, automatic methane and other hazardous gas leak detection methods like optical gas imaging are becoming a common requirement for the oil and gas market.

Quickset’s EXO OGI Camera meets the growing demand for high-performance, OGI and leak detection solutions and offers 24/7, clear and accurate observation through difficult operational and environmental conditions significantly enhancing detection, identification, and appropriate response to potential safety threats. The integration of various sensors into your system increases the level of safety intelligence available to your team.

Learn more about Quickset’s OGI Cameras

Download the Quickset OGI Camera Technical Sheet.

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Standard Features


• Cost effective, easy integration.

• 365/24/7 detection in harsh environments

• Integrated H.264 and M-JPEG encoder with real time streaming video

• Gas enhancement mode colorizes gas leaks

• Long life HOT MWIR sensor

• Leak detection of 22 different industrial gases

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    Fundamentals and FAQs

    What is an OGI Camera?


    OGI stands for Optical Gas Imaging. An Optical Gas Imaging camera is a device that uses infrared imaging technology to visualize gas leaks and emissions. It essentially makes invisible gases visible to the human eye. These cameras are extremely useful in industries where gas leaks can lead to safety hazards, environmental harm, and economic loss.

    OGI cameras work by detecting the infrared radiation given off by a gas. Different gases absorb and emit infrared radiation at different wavelengths. An OGI camera is sensitive to these wavelengths, and it can use this information to create an image that shows where the gas is present.

    For example, methane, a common gas in the oil and gas industry, can be detected by an OGI camera because it absorbs infrared light at specific wavelengths. The camera can detect this absorption and translate it into a visible image.

    These cameras are typically handheld and resemble a traditional video camera. They often have features like video recording and GPS tagging, so the user can document where and when a leak was detected.

    OGI technology is considered a significant advance in leak detection, as it enables rapid inspection and real-time visualization of gas leaks. However, it’s important to note that while OGI cameras are highly effective, they may not detect all types of gases or leaks, and they should be used as part of a comprehensive safety and maintenance program.

    How do optical gas sensors work?


    Optical gas sensors, also known as optical gas detectors, work based on the principle of spectroscopy. These sensors leverage light absorption characteristics of gases to detect their presence and concentration. The working principle can be explained in four steps:

    Light Source – The sensor includes a light source that emits a broad spectrum of light. This could be an LED or a laser. The light emitted by this source is directed towards a gas sample.

    Gas AbsorptionEvery gas has unique absorption characteristics at specific wavelengths of light. When the light from the source passes through the gas sample, some part of the light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The type and concentration of the gas determine the amount of light absorbed.

    Light Detection – After passing through the gas sample, the light reaches a light detector. This detector measures the intensity of light at different wavelengths.

    Data AnalysisThe sensor’s electronics or associated software compare the intensity of the incoming light with the original light emitted from the source. By analyzing which wavelengths of light have been absorbed (and to what extent), the sensor can determine the type and concentration of the gas in the sample.

    Optical gas sensors are highly sensitive and can detect even very low concentrations of gases. They are used in a wide range of applications, from environmental monitoring to industrial process control and safety.Remember that there are various types of optical gas sensors such as Non-dispersive Infrared (NDIR) sensors, Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS) sensors, and Photoacoustic Spectroscopy (PAS) sensors, each with its own specific method of operation but based on the same fundamental principle of light absorption.

    Can infrared really see gas?


    Yes, certain gases can be detected using infrared (IR) technology. This technique is often used in non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors, which are a type of optical gas sensor.

    Gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and certain refrigerant gases can absorb infrared light at specific wavelengths. When IR light passes through a sample of one of these gases, the gas molecules absorb some of the light, and this absorption can be measured by an IR detector. By comparing the intensity of the transmitted light with the original light, it’s possible to determine the concentration of the gas.

    However, it’s important to note that not all gases can be detected using IR technology. Some gases do not interact with IR light in a way that can be easily measured, and others may require different wavelengths or techniques for accurate detection. Additionally, even for gases that can be detected using IR, the specific conditions (e.g., temperature, pressure, presence of other gases) can affect the accuracy of the measurements.

    For visualizing gas leaks in real-time, there are specific infrared cameras available that are designed to detect gases like sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which is often used in the electricity industry, and methane, a common greenhouse gas. These cameras work by detecting the specific wavelengths of light absorbed by these gases, effectively making the invisible gases “visible” on the camera display.


    Get in touch with the experts at Quickset Defense Technologies to learn more.