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1 June 2011 Size, weight, and power reduction of mercury cadmium telluride infrared detection modules
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Application requirements driving present IR technology development activities are improved capability to detect and identify a threat as well as the need to reduce size weight and power consumption (SWaP) of thermal sights. In addition to the development of 3rd Gen IR modules providing dual-band or dual-color capability, AIM is focused on IR FPAs with reduced pitch and high operating temperature for SWaP reduction. State-of-the-art MCT technology allows AIM the production of mid-wave infrared (MWIR) detectors operating at temperatures exceeding 120 K without any need to sacrifice the 5-µm cut-off wavelength. These FPAs allow manufacturing of low cost IR modules with minimum size, weight, and power for state-of-the-art high performance IR systems. AIM has realized full TV format MCT 640×512 mid-wave and long-wave IR detection modules with a 15-µm pitch to meet the requirements of critical military applications like thermal weapon sights or thermal imagers in unmanned aerial vehicles applications. In typical configurations like an F/4.6 cold shield for the 640×512 MWIR module an noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) <25 mK @ 5 ms integration time is achieved, while the long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) modules achieve an NETD <38 mK @ F/2 and 180 µs integration time. For the LWIR modules, FPAs with a cut-off up to 10 µm have been realized. The modules are available either with different integral rotary cooler configurations for portable applications that require minimum cooling power or a new split linear cooler providing long lifetime with a mean time to failure (MTTF) > 20000, e.g., for warning sensors in 24/7 operation. The modules are available with optional image processing electronics providing nonuniformity correction and further image processing for a complete IR imaging solution. The latest results and performance of those modules and their applications are presented.
©(2011) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Rainer Breiter, Tobias Ihle, Joachim C. Wendler, Holger Lutz, Stefan Rutzinger, Timo Schallenberg, Karl C. Hofmann, and Johann Ziegler "Size, weight, and power reduction of mercury cadmium telluride infrared detection modules," Optical Engineering 50(6), 061010 (1 June 2011).
Published: 1 June 2011

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