24 June 2014 Panoramic thermal imaging: challenges and tradeoffs
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Abstract
Over the past decade, we have witnessed a growing demand for electro-optical systems that can provide continuous 3600 coverage. Applications such as perimeter security, autonomous vehicles, and military warning systems are a few of the most common applications for panoramic imaging. There are several different technological approaches for achieving panoramic imaging. Solutions based on rotating elements do not provide continuous coverage as there is a time lag between updates. Continuous panoramic solutions either use "stitched" images from multiple adjacent sensors, or sophisticated optical designs which warp a panoramic view onto a single sensor. When dealing with panoramic imaging in the visible spectrum, high volume production and advancement of semiconductor technology has enabled the use of CMOS/CCD image sensors with a huge number of pixels, small pixel dimensions, and low cost devices. However, in the infrared spectrum, the growth of detector pixel counts, pixel size reduction, and cost reduction is taking place at a slower rate due to the complexity of the technology and limitations caused by the laws of physics. In this work, we will explore the challenges involved in achieving 3600 panoramic thermal imaging, and will analyze aspects such as spatial resolution, FOV, data complexity, FPA utilization, system complexity, coverage and cost of the different solutions. We will provide illustrations, calculations, and tradeoffs between three solutions evaluated by Opgal: A unique 3600 lens design using an LWIR XGA detector, stitching of three adjacent LWIR sensors equipped with a low distortion 1200 lens, and a fisheye lens with a HFOV of 180º and an XGA sensor.
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Shimon Aburmad, Hila Nagel, "Panoramic thermal imaging: challenges and tradeoffs", Proc. SPIE 9070, Infrared Technology and Applications XL, 90700E (24 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2049311; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2049311
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