31 May 2013 Development of passive submillimeter-wave video imaging systems
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Abstract
Passive submillimeter wave imaging is a concept that has been in the focus of interest as a promising technology for security applications for a number of years. It utilizes the unique optical properties of submillimeter waves and promises an alternative to millimeter-wave and X-ray backscattering portals for personal security screening in particular. Possible application scenarios demand sensitive, fast, and fleixible high-quality imaging techniques. Considering the low radiometric contrast of indoor scenes in the submillimeter range, this objective calls for an extremely high detector sensitivity that can only be achieved using cooled detectors. Our approach to this task is a series of passives standoff video cameras for the 350 GHz band that represent an evolving concept and a continuous development since 2007. The cameras utilize arrays of superconducting transition-edge sensors (TES), i.e. cryogenic microbolometers, as radiation detectors. The TES are operate at temperatures below 1K, cooled by a closed-cycle cooling system, and coupled to superconducting readout electronics. By this means, background limited photometry (BLIP) mode is achieved providing the maximum possible signal to noise ratio. At video rates, this leads to a pixel NETD well below 1K. The imaging system is completed by reflector optics based on free-form mirrors. For object distances of 3–10m, a field of view up to 2m height and a diffraction-limited spatial resolution in the order of 1–2cm is provided. Opto-mechanical scanning systems are part of the optical setup and capable frame rates up to 25 frames per second. Both spiraliform and linear scanning schemes have been developed.
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Erik Heinz, Torsten May, Detlef Born, Gabriel Zieger, Katja Peiselt, Anika Brömel, Solveig Anders, Vyacheslav Zakosarenko, Torsten Krause, André Krüger, Marco Schulz, Hans-Georg Meyer, "Development of passive submillimeter-wave video imaging systems", Proc. SPIE 8715, Passive and Active Millimeter-Wave Imaging XVI, 87150E (31 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2018848; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2018848
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