The object absorbs radiation and the lattice vibration increases. The radiation energy is converted into heat energy and the temperature rises. As the temperature of the object increases, temperature-related physical properties change. The phenomenon that the body absorbs radiation to change its temperature and cause the physical and mechanical properties of the object to change accordingly is called thermal effect. A detector made using a thermal effect is called a thermal detector.
The heat detector photoelectric conversion process is divided into two steps: The first step is that the heat detector absorbs infrared radiation and causes temperature rise. This step is the same for all kinds of heat detectors; the second step utilizes some temperature effect of the heat detector to heat the temperature. Liter changes into electricity changes.
Because heat detectors use radiation to cause the temperature rise of an object, it responds to radiation of any wavelength, so the heat detector is a non-selective detector, which is a big difference between it and a photon detector. The development of heat detectors is earlier than that of photon detectors, but today the detection rate of some photon detectors is close to the background, and the detection rate of heat detectors is still far from the background noise limit.
After being absorbed by an object, radiation is converted into heat, and the temperature of the object is increased, along with other effects, such as volume expansion, change in resistivity, or generation of a current, electromotive force. Measuring the changes in these performance parameters tells the existence and size of radiation. Thermometers, Gaulay detectors, thermistors, thermocouples, and pyroelectric detectors were made using this principle. 
The human body, tanks, planes, warships, etc. are all radiant heat sources. Heat detectors are used to detect the distribution of radiation temperatures in various parts of the human body, tanks, planes, warships, etc. to distinguish and identify these objects. Heat detectors can be widely used to detect human body, fire source, heat source, various military targets, and have important applications and developments in industry and agriculture and national defense.
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