How Do Night Vision Goggles Work

Having the ability to see in total darkness is now made possible with the use of night-vision goggles. Seeing in the dark is necessary for several reasons, especially for security troops, soldiers in the war field, surveillance, and at high-security places. Giving you a tactical advantage, one wonders, how do night vision goggles work?

Other than the military and security use, night vision goggles are a must-have device if you are planning to go on a field trip, hiking, camping, or hunting. Allowing you to see in the dark, it saves you from potential hazards and makes you feel comfortable during dark hours.

Whatever you use it for, it’s time that you stop wondering and actually know about how do night vision goggles work. If you are the one looking for the answer, you are at the right place as here we are just about to explore the world of night vision goggles and will see how it works so effectively in the dark.

Understanding electromagnetic spectrum

To fully grasp the working functionality of night vision goggles, you need to understand the concept of light. Not all kinds of lights are perceptible to human eyes; the light we see is known as visible light. Whereas the other forms of lights, such as UV lights and infrared, are not visible to the naked eye. All these types of lights are sections of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The electromagnetic spectrum covers a range of electromagnetic radiation that exists, and visible light that we see is one part of it. To connect it with night vision goggles, here is a fun fact that night vision goggles can detect and use infrared light.

How do night vision goggles work?

Night vision goggles are using different technologies to provide you a clear optical view in the dark. Principally, it can be distributed into two categories. Let’s explore a bit of both forms.

Image enhancement

There is a low probability that there will be zero visible light, as moonlight and starlight are also considered as the light source, set aside the few exceptions. Image enhancement technology catches the packets of faint visible light and amplifies them to give a clear image.

Some night vision goggles have the capability to amplify infrared light as well.

Thermal imaging

The other technology being used by night vision devices is known as thermal imaging. When we talk about thermal, it is clear that it is somewhat related to heat. Therefore, the objects or persons releasing the heat in the form of infrared are detected, and you see what’s going on in the dark.

Why do night vision goggles glow green?

The human eyes are naturally receptive to green lighting, and you can view it for a more extended period of time without getting any sort of pain in the eyes. Thus, the green color enhances the visibility in one way or another. Special filters are integrated with night vision goggles to make the image green so that you get a clear view of the picture.

The generation gap

Just like any other technology, tools, and equipment, night vision has also progressed over a period. Starting from generation 0 in the 1930s, we now have generation 3-night vision devices with enhanced performance, design, and functionality.

Research and experiments are being carried out to further improve the technology from all aspects and cater to the needs and requirements of the digital world.

Digital night vision

Technology has evolved over time, and now the world is using digital image enhancement for night vision equipment. It has directed considerable improvement in the design and working functionality. Night vision devices using digital image enhancement technology are smaller in size, give better results, are more versatile, reliable, and effective.

This technology uses a metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensor and converts light into a digital signal electronically, and then it is sent to the LCD display. With the use of high-quality sensors, you can get full HD images and videos in the dark. With the help of this technology, you can even get color images rather than glowing green images as in traditional night vision devices.


Knowing how night vision goggles work will not only allow you to choose the best goggles for yourself, but also you will be able to use them more wisely and efficiently. People are using night-vision goggles every day for different purposes, and if you want to have one, this article will let you know how it works so that you get the best out of it.