1 May 2008 Low-cost thermo-electric infrared FPAs and their automotive applications
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This paper describes three low-cost infrared focal plane arrays (FPAs) having a 1,536, 2,304, and 10,800 elements and experimental vehicle systems. They have a low-cost potential because each element consists of p-n polysilicon thermocouples, which allows the use of low-cost ultra-fine microfabrication technology commonly employed in the conventional semiconductor manufacturing processes. To increase the responsivity of FPA, we have developed a precisely patterned Au-black absorber that has high infrared absorptivity of more than 90%. The FPA having a 2,304 elements achieved high resposivity of 4,300 V/W. In order to reduce package cost, we developed a vacuum-sealed package integrated with a molded ZnS lens. The camera aiming the temperature measurement of a passenger cabin is compact and light weight devices that measures 45 x 45 x 30 mm and weighs 190 g. The camera achieves a noise equivalent temperature deviation (NETD) of less than 0.7°C from 0 to 40°C. In this paper, we also present a several experimental systems that use infrared cameras. One experimental system is a blind spot pedestrian warning system that employs four infrared cameras. It can detect the infrared radiation emitted from a human body and alerts the driver when a pedestrian is in a blind spot. The system can also prevent the vehicle from moving in the direction of the pedestrian. Another system uses a visible-light camera and infrared sensors to detect the presence of a pedestrian in a rear blind spot and alerts the driver. The third system is a new type of human-machine interface system that enables the driver to control the car's audio system without letting go of the steering wheel. Uncooled infrared cameras are still costly, which limits their automotive use to high-end luxury cars at present. To promote widespread use of IR imaging sensors on vehicles, we need to reduce their cost further.
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Masaki Hirota, Yoshimi Ohta, Yasuhiro Fukuyama, "Low-cost thermo-electric infrared FPAs and their automotive applications", Proc. SPIE 6940, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXIV, 694032 (1 May 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.780725; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.780725

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