18 June 2013 New solutions and technologies for uncooled infrared imaging
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Abstract
The military uncooled infrared market is driven by the continued cost reduction of the focal plane arrays whilst maintaining high standards of sensitivity and steering towards smaller pixel sizes. As a consequence, new optical solutions are called for. Two approaches can come into play: the bottom up option consists in allocating improvements to each contributor and the top down process rather relies on an overall optimization of the complete image channel. The University of Rennes I with Thales Angénieux alongside has been working over the past decade through French MOD funding’s, on low cost alternatives of infrared materials based upon chalcogenide glasses. A special care has been laid on the enhancement of their mechanical properties and their ability to be moulded according to complex shapes. New manufacturing means developments capable of better yields for the raw materials will be addressed, too. Beyond the mere lenses budget cuts, a wave front coding process can ease a global optimization. This technic gives a way of relaxing optical constraints or upgrading thermal device performances through an increase of the focus depths and desensitization against temperature drifts: it combines image processing and the use of smart optical components. Thales achievements in such topics will be enlightened and the trade-off between image quality correction levels and low consumption/ real time processing, as might be required in hand-free night vision devices, will be emphasized. It is worth mentioning that both approaches are deeply leaning on each other.
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Joël Rollin, Frédéric Diaz, Christophe Fontaine, Brigitte Loiseaux, Mane-Si Laure Lee, Christophe Clienti, Fabrice Lemonnier, Xianghua Zhang, Laurent Calvez, "New solutions and technologies for uncooled infrared imaging", Proc. SPIE 8704, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXIX, 870423 (18 June 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2015784; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2015784
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