How FLIR Tests for White Blemish Pixels

Download PDF - White_Blemish_Pixel_Defects


The suite of quality assurance tests that FLIR performs on its cameras includes specifications for identifying and correcting white blemish pixel defects that originate from the camera imager. White blemish pixels can occur randomly in any imager and are believed to be caused by natural cosmic radiation. In some cases, an incidence of radiation can damage a pixel and cause it to generate a permanently high charge. As a result, the pixel takes on a permanently lit, or ‘glowing,’ appearance. This damage generally occurs after the sensor is manufactured, particularly during shipping and handling. White blemish pixels are sometimes referred to as ‘hot,’ ‘burned’ or ‘bright’ pixels.


In the following image, a single white blemish pixel may be seen near the lower right corner (circled).

The pixel is magnified in the following image:

Identifying and Correcting White Blemish Pixels

Testing and correcting white blemish pixels occurs during the unit test phase of camera production. This means that an array of blemish pixels is identified for each individual camera, and the mechanism to correct them is then coded into the camera firmware. Pixel correction, as such, becomes a part of the on-camera data flow for every image frame. The algorithm to correct blemish pixels involves applying the average color or grayscale values of neighboring pixels to the blemish pixel.


Test Specifications

The following specifications apply to all cameras when testing for white blemish pixels:

  • All tolerances meet or exceed those of the corresponding imager manufacturers.
  • The temperature setting is 23 C.
  • Tests are performed with the lens cap on (darkness).
  • White balance, where supported in color models, is applied according to the default setting of the camera on startup.
  • Blemish pixels identified on the outermost columns (left/right) of pixels in the image are not corrected.

Note that the maximum number of pixels corrected varies by camera model, depending on storage space and sensor size. While FLIR aims to ship cameras with zero white blemish pixels, in some models the maximum number of pixels corrected may be less than the number allowed by the sensor manufacturer.


Determining White Blemish Pixel Correction on Your Camera

To determine if blemish pixel correction is enabled on your camera (the default setting is enabled), and the number of pixels that are being corrected, read the PIXEL_DEFECT_CTRL register 0x1A60h. For more information about how to work with this register, consult the FLIR Digital Camera Register Reference available from the Downloads page.


Minimizing the Effects of White Blemish Pixels

You may still encounter issues with blemish pixels, in spite of any correction that is performed on-camera. Keep in mind that blemish pixels can occur spontaneously after they leave Point Grey Research, especially during shipping and handling.

To minimize the effects of any additional blemish pixels, be aware that higher operating temperatures, higher gain settings, and longer shutter times can all contribute to an increased effect of white blemish pixels.

If you remain concerned about white blemish pixel defects on your camera, contact our support team here.