23 January 2003 High-sensitivity 25-μm microbolometer FPAs
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Raytheon IR 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 the first high-quality 320×240 microbolometer FPAs wiht 25μm pitch pixels. The 320×240 FPAs have a sensitivity that is comparable to microbolometer FPAs with 50μm pixels. The average NETD value for these FPAs is about 35 mK with an f/1 aperture and oepratin at 30 Hz frame rates. Good pixel operability and excellent image quality have been demonstrated. Pixel operability is greater than 99 percent on some FPAs, and uncorrected responsivity nonconformity is less than 4%. The microbolometer detectors also have a relatively fast thermal time constant of approximately 10 msec. This state-of-the-art performance has been acheived as a result of an advanced micromachining fabrication process. The process allwos 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 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 640×480 FPA array. Raytheon has produced arrays with very good sensitivity, operability, and excellent image quality. These FPAs are applicable to wide-field-of-view, long range surveillance and targeting missions. Raytheon is also developing a high performance 160×128 FPA that is designed for applications where miniaturizaitno 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, Jessica Wyles, Jessica Wyles, C. Hewitt, C. Hewitt, Adam Kennedy, Adam Kennedy, David Van Lue, David Van Lue, John Steven Anderson, John Steven Anderson, Daryl Bradley, Daryl Bradley, Richard Chin, Richard Chin, Thomas Kostrzewa, Thomas Kostrzewa, } "High-sensitivity 25-μm microbolometer FPAs", Proc. SPIE 4820, Infrared Technology and Applications XXVIII, (23 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.453902; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.453902


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