The interaction between localized emitters and quantum fields, both in relativistic settings and in the case of ultra-strong couplings, requires non-perturbative methods beyond the rotating-wave approximation. In this work we employ chain-mapping methods to achieve a numerically exact treatment of the interaction between a localized emitter and a scalar quantum field. We extend the application range of these methods beyond emitter observables and apply them to study field observables. We first provide an overview of chain-mapping methods and their physical interpretation, and discuss the thermal double construction for systems coupled to thermal field states. Modelling the emitter as an Unruh-DeWitt particle detector, we then calculate the energy density emitted by a detector coupling strongly to the field. As a stimulating demonstration of the approach’s potential, we calculate the radiation emitted from an accelerated detector in the Unruh effect, which is closely related to the thermal double construction as we discuss. We comment on prospects and challenges of the method.