17 July 2000 Miniaturized high-performance starring thermal imaging system
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Abstract
A high resolution thermal imaging system was developed based on a 384 X 288 mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) mid wave (MWIR) infrared (IR) detection module with a 2 X 2 microscan for improved geometrical resolution. Primary design goal was a long identification range of 3 km and high system performance for adverse weather conditions achieved by a system with small entrance pupil and minimized dimensions to fit for integration in existing apertures of armored vehicles, reconnaissance systems and stabilized platforms. A staring FPA module with its potential for long integration times together with a microscan for improved geometrical resolution provides the answers best fit to these requirements. A robust microscanner was developed to fit for military requirements and integrated with AIM's 384 X 288 MCT MWIR module and data processing. The modules allow for up to 2 ms integration time with 25 Hz frame rate and output a 768 X 576 high resolution CCIR standard image. The video image processing (VIP) provides the calculation power for scene based self learning nonuniformity correction (NUC) algorithms to save calibration sources. This NUC algorithm allows take into account non linear effects for unsurpassed performance in highly dynamic scenes. The detection module and VIP are designed to interface with STN's mature system electronics, used e.g. in hundreds of OPHELIOS thermal camera sets fielded. The system electronics provides a lot of different interface features like double serial control bus (CANBUS) interface, analog and digital outputs as well as different video outputs. The integrated graphic generation part allows to put advanced graphic overlays to the thermal image and also to external video signals via the video input feature. This electronics provides the power supply for the whole thermal imaging system as well as different processor controlled algorithms for field of view or zoom drives, focus drives, athermalization and temperature control of the FLIR. A new zoom lens F/2.0 allows to select field of views from 2 degree to 15 degrees horizontal. This covers a wide area of military and paramilitary applications. The whole camera is miniaturized to fit into existing gunner and commander sights for main battle tanks as well as for infantry fighting vehicles. The overall design is compatible in optical, electrical and mechanical direction with the fielded OPHELIOS cameras and so an easy upgrade for existing fire control, reconnaissance and platform systems. The overall design is made under consideration of mil standard environments and is able to withstand vehicle, airborne and shipborne stress. The presentation gives an overview of the different components of the new camera system. Theoretical range performance data are discussed together with measured NETD, MTF and MRTD data of the unit.
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Wolfgang A. Cabanski, Wolfgang A. Cabanski, Rainer Breiter, Rainer Breiter, Karl-Heinz Mauk, Karl-Heinz Mauk, Werner Rode, Werner Rode, Johann Ziegler, Johann Ziegler, L. Ennenga, L. Ennenga, Ulrich Manfred Stefan Lipinski, Ulrich Manfred Stefan Lipinski, T. Wehrhahn, T. Wehrhahn, } "Miniaturized high-performance starring thermal imaging system", Proc. SPIE 4028, Infrared Detectors and Focal Plane Arrays VI, (17 July 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.391734; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.391734
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