what is autogated night vision

What Is Autogated Night Vision? – Detailed Explanation


You have recently gotten into the world of optics. And you are planning to get a good night vision optic. It can be really hard to figure out which you should get. You have heard that autogated night vision is good but can’t fixate on that. 

So, what is autogated night vision? 

Autogating continues to work in the background in dynamic light situations. It ensures the best possible resolution and contrast throughout. If the image intensification tube is exposed to abrupt bright light, ATG controls the power supply. Therefore, the voltage on the photocathode keeps shifting. 

Sounds intriguing? Then wait no more. We have gathered all the information you need to know on autogated night vision. Read on to have a thorough understanding of your query. 

What is Autogated Night Vision

To understand what autogated night vision is, we need to know what autogation does first. Autogation is an optical feature which enhances the ability of the military image intensifier tubes. 

Here, the amount of light reaching the intensifier automatically fluctuates. Therefore, the tube unit does not face any damage due to abrupt changes in light intensity. 

This process is also known as oscillating. Here, the dynamic light condition maintains a sustainable resolution and contrast. In times of light amount fluctuations, autogating adjusts the voltage accordingly. 

It automatically adjusts the power supply to the photocathode. The voltage that goes on to the goggles switches frequently to adjust to the light situation. It keeps the optimum voltage during the “on” cycle.  

Therefore, too much light does not blind the user, it also helps reject the IONs to maintain thinner filmed or filmless designs from ION poisoning. The ION poisoning of the MCP reduces the output quality. Also, it enhances the tube burnout speed. 

The Necessity of Autogating 

Usually, the night vision goggles use an infrared system. Here, it detects the heat signature to identify any shape that releases heat. Therefore, in darker situations, any movement of heat-releasing objects becomes visible. 

The night vision enhances the heat-seeking ability of the goggles. Therefore, a tiny change in the heat signature can be detected. To do that, the infrared system needs to be highly sensitive to any changes in heat. 

At times, abrupt changes in the heat occur if the light present in the situation intensifies. In these circumstances, the sensitivity of these night vision becomes unbearable. Therefore, the visibility of the user gets to zero and the mobility is also hampered. Also, the goggles malfunction too at times like these. 

In these scenarios, autogation comes in handy. As we have already mentioned. Autogating adjusts the voltage flow according to the availability of light. Therefore, if there is a sudden presence of light, it does not hamper the mobility of the user. 

If you’re thinking about buying an autogated night vision. You can give the given night visions a try. They are really good at their job.


These are some of the really good autogated night visions. Also, they are really durable. So they should last for a long time. 

The Outcome of Autogating 

Usually, we can see two outcomes in terms of autogating. Firstly, you can get a sustainable performance from the goggles. It results in maintaining optimal performance at all times. 

The system does not get momentarily shut down which can happen in non-autogated systems. It also keeps the Polaris colour as accurate as possible. 

This allows for carrying a fluent nighttime operation in a discrete and uninterrupted manner. Also, provides the user with proper visual acuity. 

The second outcome is that the tube itself is protected from the negative influence of bright light. As the photocathode is protected from any bright light, the lifespan of the night vision increases. 

Autogated Power Supply 

The primary difference between the autogated and non-autogated is the supply of power. In non-autogated, the high-pitched while is often found to be missing. This controls the adjustment procedure of the power supply. 

On the contrary, in an autogated power supply, the system turns on and off by itself. This procedure of turning on and off occurs at a very rapid pace. This procedure aided with the thin film attached to the microchannel plate decreases blooming. 

The blooming is significantly lower in systems with thin-film layers. Although systems with thick films can have an acceptable blooming rate, thinner ones perform much better. The blooming on the thicker film-containing system depends on the end user’s application. 

But keep in mind that blooming should not be the only factor while choosing a night vision. 

Also, to overcome ion poisoning, the scrubbing techniques while manufacturing the MCP is also improved. Therefore, a sufficient period of autogating ejects the positive ions from the photocathode. Therefore, photocathode poisoning decreases significantly. 

The Appropriate Consumer Base for Autogated Night Vision 

Although it is a newer and more efficient technology, not everyone has the need for it. The appropriate users of it can be those who work in a dynamic light environment. Also, those who require visual continuity will be in need of it more. 

In the military, only the special operations forces and the anti-terrorist unit has the use of it. And in civil circumstances, aviation pilots are the ones who have the use of it.

In HEMS or aerial firefights, this tool will become handier for them. Especially while taking off and landing in lower lights or flying at a lower altitude. 

Pilots with aviators’ night vision have to be constantly subjected to dynamic light conditions. Such as artificial light sources in urban areas or natural light sources in aerial firefighting. In situations like this, they continuously interfere with their navigation. 

The autogated night vision also requires more maintenance than the non-autogated ones. Keeping it in an apache case is the most recommended form of maintaining it. 

Tools such as autogating aids the pilot to maintain a consistent performance on night vision imaging. 


What is Autogating?

Autogating is a feature of military image intensifier tubes. Here, the amount of light reaching the intensifier is automatically gated or adjusted. Therefore, the abrupt bright light does not cause any damage to the unit. 

What is Ebi night vision?

The equivalent background illumination or EBI is the amount of light that the human eye sees through a night vision device. But for Ebi, the image tube has to remain turned on and no light should be on the photocathode. Normally, EBI is affected by changes in temperature. The warmer the night vision device gets, the brighter the background becomes. 

What are good night vision specs?

A good number of night vision specs varies depending on the use. Usually, a good number is between 60,000 – 70,000 range and a bad one is between 40,000 – 60,000. The ITT/Harris(Pre L3 Harris) sheets generally do not classify it as gains but you can find it below EBI. 


That’s all from us on what is autogated night vision. 

We hope that now you have a better understanding of it. Hence, you will be able to choose your next night vision with much more knowledge to your arsenal.

The autogating feature is used for specific purposes, determining your usage and utilising it thoroughly will take you far. 

So, good luck with your night vision. Until next time, have a beautiful day!

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