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During the last five decades, different types of detectors have been combined with electronic readouts to make detector arrays. The progress in integrated circuit design and fabrication techniques has resulted in continued rapid growth in the size and performance of these solid-state arrays. In the infrared technique, these devices are based on a readout array connected to an array of detectors.
The term focal plane array refers to an assemblage of individual detector picture elements (pixels) located at the focal plane of an imaging system. Although this definition could include 1D (linear) arrays as well as 2D arrays, it is frequently applied to the latter. Usually, the optics part of an optoelectronic imaging device is limited to focusing the image onto the detector array. These so-called staring arrays are scanned electronically usually using circuits integrated with the arrays. The architecture of detector-readout assemblies has assumed a number of forms that are discussed below.
Infrared FPAs are critical components in many of the military and civilian applications of advanced imaging systems. In this section we focus on the current requirements for extended detector capability to support applications for future generations of infrared sensor systems.
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