Illuminators Information


Illuminators are used to provide adequate contrast for imaging. Typically, their light source is an LED array, laserIlluminator image, or lamp. LED products and laser diode devices tend to be monochromatic, whereas lamps usually provide a large spectrum of light. Fiber optic illuminators are also available.

Type of Illuminators

The GlobalSpec SpecSearch database lets industrial buyers specify these types of illuminators.

  • Spot illuminators are ideal for emphasizing a specific feature on a part, de-emphasizes part background.
  • Dual spot illuminators are used for inspection from a particular angle.
  • Ring types are used to provide even lighting for cameras.
  • Line types are also known as a linear array, these are used to provide even illumination along a straight line.
  • Dome illuminators are used to provide extremely even, diffuse illumination.
  • Backlights are used to provide maximum contrast between object and background.
  • Structured light is basically with a diffraction grating that produces a characteristic pattern, such as a circle, square, stripes, etc.

Product and Performance SpecificationsIlluminator image

Specifications to consider when searching for illuminators include active area diameter or length, active area width, lifetime, wavelength, color temperature, maximum voltage, and illuminator output. 

  • Wavelength or wavelength range is dependent on the light source.
  • Color temperature is a measure of the visual "warmth" or "coolness" of the light from the lamp. The higher the value, the whiter or "cooler" the light appears.
  • The maximum voltage specifies the maximum operating voltage for the illuminator, and not the LED, laser, or lamp.

With infrared laser illuminators, the relationship between optical watts and amps is also important to consider.


Video credit: Dipole / CC BY-SA 4.0


Features such as strobed, diffused, collimated, polarized, and fiber optic are used to produce the particular lighting characteristics needed.  Strobe illuminators are pulsed.  In diffused illuminators, the light of the illuminator is scattered.  Scattered light de-emphasizes shadows.  Collimation offers greater contrast.  The light from the illuminator can be polarized.  Polarized light can be used to eliminate spectrally reflected light.  Fiber optic illuminators use fiber optic light guides to deliver the light.




Instructions for Building an Infrared Laser Illuminator

Fiber Optic Illuminators


Image credits:


Microscan International




Read user Insights about Illuminators