Infrared IR Sensor Circuit Diagram and Working Principle

An infrared sensor is an electronic device, that emits in order to sense some aspects of the surroundings. An IR sensor can measure the heat of an object as well as detects the motion.These types of sensors measures only infrared radiation, rather than emitting it that is called as a passive IR sensor. Usually in the infrared spectrum, all the objects radiate some form of thermal radiations. These types of radiations are  invisible to our eyes, that can be detected by an infrared sensor.The emitter is simply an IR LED (Light Emitting Diode) and the detector is simply an IR photodiode which is sensitive to IR light of the same wavelength as that emitted by the IR LED. When IR light falls on the photodiode, The resistances and these output voltages, change in proportion to the magnitude of the IR light received.

IR Sensor
IR Sensor

IR Sensor Circuit Diagram and Working Principle

An infrared  sensor circuit is one of the basic and popular sensor module in an electronic device. This sensor is analogous to human’s visionary senses, which can be used to detect obstacles and it is one of the common applications in real time.This circuit comprises of the following components

  • LM358 IC 2 IR transmitter and receiver pair
  • Resistors of the range of kilo ohms.
  • Variable resistors.
  • LED (Light Emitting Diode).
IR Sensor Circuit
IR Sensor Circuit

In this project, the transmitter section includes an IR sensor, which transmits continuous IR rays to be received by an IR receiver module. An IR output terminal of the receiver varies depending upon its receiving of IR rays. Since this variation cannot be analyzed as such, therefore this output can be fed to a comparator circuit. Here an operational amplifier (op-amp) of LM 339 is used as comparator circuit.

When the IR receiver does not receive a signal, the potential at the inverting input goes higher than that non-inverting input of the comparator IC (LM339). Thus the output of the comparator goes low, but the LED does not glow. When the IR receiver module receives signal to the potential at the inverting input goes low. Thus the output of the comparator (LM 339) goes high and the LED starts glowing. Resistor R1 (100 ), R2 (10k ) and R3 (330) are used to ensure that minimum 10 mA current passes through the IR LED Devices like Photodiode and normal LEDs respectively. Resistor VR2 (preset=5k ) is used to adjust the output terminals. Resistor VR1 (preset=10k ) is used to set the sensitivity of the circuit Diagram. Read more about IR sensors.

Different Types of IR Sensors and Their Applications

IR sensors are classified into different types depending on the applications. Some of the typical applications of different types of sensors are

The speed sensor is used for synchronizing the speed of multiple motors. The temperature sensor is used for industrial temperature control. PIR sensor is used for automatic door opening system and  Ultrasonic sensor are used for distance measurement.

IR Sensor Applications

IR sensors are used in various Sensor based projects and also in various electronic devices which measures the temperature that are discussed in the below.

Radiation Thermometers

IR sensors are used in radiation thermometers to measure the temperature depend upon the temperature and the material of the object and these thermometers have some of the following features

  • Measurement without direct contact with the object
  • Faster response
  • Easy pattern measurements

Flame Monitors

These types of devices are used for detecting the light emitted from the flames and to monitor how the flames are burning. The Light emitted from flames extend from UV to IR region types. PbS, PbSe, Two-color detector, pyro electric detector are some of the commonly employed detector used in flame monitors.

Moisture Analyzers

Moisture analyzers use wavelengths which are absorbed by the moisture in the IR region. Objects are irradiated with light having these wavelengths(1.1 µm, 1.4 µm, 1.9 µm, and 2.7µm) and also with reference wavelengths. The Lights reflected from the objects depend upon the moisture content and is detected by analyzer to measure moisture (ratio of reflected light at these wavelengths to the reflected light at reference wavelength). In GaAs PIN photodiodes, Pbs photoconductive detectors are employed in moisture analyzer circuits.

Gas Analyzers

IR sensors are used in gas analyzers which use absorption characteristics of gases in the IR region. Two types of methods are used to measure the density of gas such as dispersive and non dispersive.

Gas Analizer
Gas Analizer

Dispersive: An Emitted light is spectroscopically divided and their absorption characteristics are used to analyze the gas ingredients and the sample quantity.

Non dispersive: It is most commonly used method and it uses absorption characteristics without dividing the emitted light. Non dispersive types use discrete optical band pass filters, similar to sunglasses that are used for eye protection to filter out unwanted UV radiation.

This type of configuration is commonly referred to as non dispersive infrared (NDIR) technology. This type of analyzer is used for carbonated drinks, whereas non dispersive analyzer is used in most of the commercial IR instruments, for an automobile exhaust gas fuel leakages.

IR Imaging Devices

IR image device is one of the major applications of IR waves, primarily by virtue of its property that is not visible. It is used for thermal imagers, night vision devices, etc.

IR Imaging Devices
IR Imaging Devices

For examples Water, rocks, soil, vegetation, an atmosphere, and human tissue all features emit IR radiation. The Thermal infrared detectors measure these radiations in IR range and map the spatial temperature distributions of the object/area on an image. Thermal imagers usually composed of a Sb (indium antimonite), Gd Hg (mercury-doped germanium), Hg Cd Te (mercury-cadmium-telluride) sensors.

An electronic detector is cooled to low temperatures using liquid helium or liquid nitrogen’s.  Then the Cooling the detectors ensures that the radiant energy (photons) recorded by the detectors comes from the terrain and not from the ambient temperature of objects within the scanner itself an IR imaging electronic devices.

Thus, this is all about IR sensor circuit with working and applications. These sensors are used in many sensor based electronics projects. We believe that, you might have got a better understanding of this IR sensor and its working principle.Furthermore, any doubts regarding this article or projects please give your feedback by commenting in the comment section below.Here is a question for you, can the infrared thermometer operate in complete darkness?

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  1. sir what is the range of ir sensors?

  2. Hi,
    How can I interface ir sensor with lpc2148 in line follower robot project

  3. sukhnandan sidar says:

    i want to about ir sencer & pizo sencer

    1. Hi sukhnandan sidar
      I sincerely appreciate your kind response. As per your requirement, I can suggest you that please go through our website link you can get exact information

      please visit our domestic website and international website
      For more details please contact to Mr. Sathish on +91 8885507011 or you can email us on

  4. Please ungalala mudinja varaikum seekiram kodunga
    For my project i want

  5. Hai your article is good and one request please give the advantages and disadvantages of ir sensor, ir transmitter, ir rays please i want immediately

  6. raven m2m says:

    i had using a IR sensor in a project.which detects the object infront of the sensor in some distance by adjust the sensitivity of the sensor range(POTENTIOMETER).
    Here, i had two problems after few minutes,
    1. The sensor can not detect the object but,here that object is infront of the sensor in same distance (always LOW)
    2. I had remove the object infront of the sensor which is detect that the object (always HIGH).
    what is the reason for that problems?

    1. HI RAVEN M2M
      I sincerely appreciate your kind response regarding my article. please once again check the circuit connections properly.
      please visit our domestic website
      For more details please contact to Mr. Sathish on +91 8885507011 or you can email us on

  7. Manik Chandey says:

    How can I use IR sensor for obstacle detection in all direction?

    1. Hi Manik Chandey
      I sincerely appreciate your kind response regarding my article.
      The positioning and enclosing of the IR transmitter and Receiver is very important. Both the transmitter and the receiver must be placed at a certain angle, so that the detection of an object happens properly. This angle is the directivity of the sensor which is +/- 45 degrees.

      And once again please visit our domestic website
      For more details please contact to Mr. Sathish on +91 8885507011 or you can email us on

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