This paper reviews current IR security sensor technology and considers how new developments could impact on this increasingly important field, with relevance to military, industrial and domestic markets. We consider performance specifications for various applications, and investigate how trades can be made to meet market requirements. We address the definition of 'low cost', and suggest what might be acceptable for the various market segments.
The paper discusses novel new patented technology, including the active microbolometer, where the IR detector functions as a transistor, and where arrays and readout are fabricated in the same technology on silicon wafer or other suitable substrates. Methods are discussed for achieving the desired performance for imaging and non-imaging 'smart' sensors in low cost packaging, including sealing at atmospheric pressure. We introduce the concept of mosaic pixel focal plane arrays (MP-FPA).