The predominant spectral bands for IR applications are the 3-5μm MWIR and 8-10μm LWIR. AIM covers all these
bands since many years with a mature MCT technology. For weight, size, power consumption and - last but not least -
cost reduction, detection modules for these applications move to a pitch of 15μm. This is in both bands still a good
match referring to the optical blur spot size and detector performance. Due to the compact design, the modules are
equally well suited for new programs as well as retrofits of 1st GEN systems.
Typical configurations at AIM are a 640x512 MWIR module, achieving an NETD < 25 mK @ F/4.6 and 5 ms
integration time equivalent to half well fill conditions and an LWIR version with NETD < 30 mK @ F/2 and 110μs
integration time. The modules are available either with an integral rotary cooler for portable applications which require
minimum cooling power or a split linear cooler with a flexure bearing compressor providing long lifetimes with a
MTTF >20,000h as required e.g. for warning sensors in 24/7 operation.
A new field of applications supplied by AIM is the short wave infrared SWIR. The major advantage of MCT, the
tunable bandgap i.e. cut-off wavelength, allows to match various requirements. So far specifically driven by spaceborne
programs, a 1024x256 SWIR focal plane array (FPA) integrated detector cooler assembly (IDCA) with flexure bearing
cooler and pulse tube cold finger was developed. The same technology including charge transimpedance amplifier for
the low flux in the SWIR is available in a half TV 384x288 configuration. The read-out integrated circuit (ROIC)
provides among other features 8 outputs for high frame rates up to 450Hz.
Again for spaceborne commercial but also military applications like sensors in ballistic missile defense systems AIM
develops MCT based very long wave (VLWIR) detectors with a cut-off wavelength >15μm.
The current status and trends at AIM on IR detection modules sensitive in spectral ranges from short wave IR (SWIR)
to very long wave IR (VLWIR) together with the requirements of the demanding applications are summarized.