3 May 2016 The analysis and rationale behind the upgrading of existing standard definition thermal imagers to high definition
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With 640x512 pixel format IR detector arrays having been on the market for the past decade, Standard Definition (SD) thermal imaging sensors have been developed and deployed across the world. Now with 1280x1024 pixel format IR detector arrays becoming readily available designers of thermal imager systems face new challenges as pixel sizes reduce and the demand and applications for High Definition (HD) thermal imaging sensors increases. In many instances the upgrading of existing under-sampled SD thermal imaging sensors into more optimally sampled or oversampled HD thermal imaging sensors provides a more cost effective and reduced time to market option than to design and develop a completely new sensor. This paper presents the analysis and rationale behind the selection of the best suited HD pixel format MWIR detector for the upgrade of an existing SD thermal imaging sensor to a higher performing HD thermal imaging sensor. Several commercially available and “soon to be” commercially available HD small pixel IR detector options are included as part of the analysis and are considered for this upgrade. The impact the proposed detectors have on the sensor’s overall sensitivity, noise and resolution is analyzed, and the improved range performance is predicted. Furthermore with reduced dark currents due to the smaller pixel sizes, the candidate HD MWIR detectors are operated at higher temperatures when compared to their SD predecessors. Therefore, as an additional constraint and as a design goal, the feasibility of achieving upgraded performance without any increase in the size, weight and power consumption of the thermal imager is discussed herein.
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Tristan M. Goss, Tristan M. Goss, } "The analysis and rationale behind the upgrading of existing standard definition thermal imagers to high definition", Proc. SPIE 9820, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XXVII, 98200R (3 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223593; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2223593


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