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17 July 2000 High-resolution focal plane array IR detection modules and digital signal processing technologies at AIM
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Full video format focal plane array (FPA) modules with up to 640 X 512 pixels have been developed for high resolution imaging applications in either mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) mid wave (MWIR) infrared (IR) or platinum silicide (PtSi) and quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP) technology as low cost alternatives to MCT for high performance IR imaging in the MWIR or long wave spectral band (LWIR). For the QWIP's, a new photovoltaic technology was introduced for improved NETD performance and higher dynamic range. MCT units provide fast frame rates > 100 Hz together with state of the art thermal resolution NETD < 20 mK for short snapshot integration times of typically 2 ms. PtSi and QWIP modules are usually operated in a rolling frame integration mode with frame rates of 30 - 60 Hz and provide thermal resolutions of NETD < 80 mK for PtSi and NETD < 20 mK for QWIP, respectively. Due to the lower quantum efficiency compared to MCT, however, the integration time is typically chosen to be as long 10 - 20 ms. The heat load of the integrated detector cooler assemblies (IDCAs) could be reduced to an amount as low, that a 1 W split liner cooler provides sufficient cooling power to operate the modules -- including the QWIP with 60 K operation temperature -- at ambient temperatures up to 65 degrees Celsius. Miniaturized command/control electronics (CCE) available for all modules provide a standardized digital interface, with 14 bit analogue to digital conversion for state to the art correctability, access to highly dynamic scenes without any loss of information and simplified exchangeability of the units. New modular image processing hardware platforms and software for image visualization and nonuniformity correction including scene based self learning algorithms had to be developed to accomplish for the high data rates of up to 18 M pixels/s with 14-bit deep data, allowing to take into account nonlinear effects to access the full NETD by accurate reduction of residual fixed pattern noise. The main features of these modules are summarized together with measured performance data for long range detection systems with moderately fast to slow F-numbers like F/2.0 - F/3.5. An outlook shows most recent activities at AIM, heading for multicolor and faster frame rate detector modules based on MCT devices.
© (2000) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Wolfgang A. Cabanski, Rainer Breiter, R. Koch, Karl-Heinz Mauk, Werner Rode, Johann Ziegler, Kurt Eberhardt, Reinhard Oelmaier, Harald Schneider, and Martin Walther "High-resolution focal plane array IR detection modules and digital signal processing technologies at AIM", Proc. SPIE 4028, Infrared Detectors and Focal Plane Arrays VI, (17 July 2000);


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