10 October 2001 High-sensitivity (25-μm pitch) microbolometer FPAs and application development
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Raytheon Infrared Operations (RIO) has achieved a significant technical breakthrough in uncooled FPAs by reducing the pixel size by a factor of two while maintaining state-of-the-art sensitivity. Raytheon has produced high-quality 320 X 240 microbolometer FPAs with 25 μm pitch pixels. The 320 X 240 FPAs have a sensitivity that is comparable to microbolometer FPAs with 50 micrometers pixels. The average NETD value for these FPAs is about 35 mK with an f/1 aperture and operating at 30 Hz frame rates. Good pixel operability and excellent image quality have been demonstrated. Pixel operability is greater than 99% on some FPAs, and uncorrected responsivity nonuniformity is less than 4% (sigma/mean). The microbolometer detectors also have a relatively fast thermal time constant of approximately 10 msec. This state-of-the-art performance has been achieved as a result of an advanced micromachining fabrication process. The process allows maximization of both the thermal isolation and the optical fill-factor. The reduction in pixel size offers several potential benefits for IR systems. For a given system resolution (IFOV) requirement, the 25 μm pixels allow a factor of two reduction in both the focal length and aperture size of the sensor optics. The pixel size reduction facilitates a significant FPA cost reduction since the number of die printed on a wafer can be increased. The pixel size reduction has enabled the development of a large-format 640 X 512 FPA array applicable to wide-field-of-view, long range surveillance and targeting missions, and a 160 X 128 array where applications for miniaturization and temperature invariance are required as well as low cost and low power.
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Daniel F. Murphy, Daniel F. Murphy, Michael Ray, Michael Ray, Richard Wyles, Richard Wyles, James F. Asbrock, James F. Asbrock, Nancy A. Lum, Nancy A. Lum, Adam Kennedy, Adam Kennedy, Jessica Wyles, Jessica Wyles, C. Hewitt, C. Hewitt, Glen E. Graham, Glen E. Graham, William A. Radford, William A. Radford, John Steven Anderson, John Steven Anderson, Daryl Bradley, Daryl Bradley, Richard Chin, Richard Chin, Thomas Kostrzewa, Thomas Kostrzewa, "High-sensitivity (25-μm pitch) microbolometer FPAs and application development", Proc. SPIE 4369, Infrared Technology and Applications XXVII, (10 October 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.445290; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.445290


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