25 October 2013 Image quality testing of assembled IR camera modules
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Abstract
Infrared (IR) camera modules for the LWIR (8-12_m) that combine IR imaging optics with microbolometer focal plane array (FPA) sensors with readout electronics are becoming more and more a mass market product. At the same time, steady improvements in sensor resolution in the higher priced markets raise the requirement for imaging performance of objectives and the proper alignment between objective and FPA. This puts pressure on camera manufacturers and system integrators to assess the image quality of finished camera modules in a cost-efficient and automated way for quality control or during end-of-line testing. In this paper we present recent development work done in the field of image quality testing of IR camera modules. This technology provides a wealth of additional information in contrast to the more traditional test methods like minimum resolvable temperature difference (MRTD) which give only a subjective overall test result. Parameters that can be measured are image quality via the modulation transfer function (MTF) for broadband or with various bandpass filters on- and off-axis and optical parameters like e.g. effective focal length (EFL) and distortion. If the camera module allows for refocusing the optics, additional parameters like best focus plane, image plane tilt, auto-focus quality, chief ray angle etc. can be characterized. Additionally, the homogeneity and response of the sensor with the optics can be characterized in order to calculate the appropriate tables for non-uniformity correction (NUC). The technology can also be used to control active alignment methods during mechanical assembly of optics to high resolution sensors. Other important points that are discussed are the flexibility of the technology to test IR modules with different form factors, electrical interfaces and last but not least the suitability for fully automated measurements in mass production.
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Daniel Winters, Daniel Winters, Patrik Erichsen, Patrik Erichsen, } "Image quality testing of assembled IR camera modules", Proc. SPIE 8896, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications X, 88960K (25 October 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2029541; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2029541
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