Since 2005, The THALES Group is successfully manufacturing TV/4 format QWIP sensitive arrays in high rate production through THALES Research and Technology.
Sofradir has entered a full production of its VEGA-LW-RM4 IDDCA using a 25μm pitch, 384x288 QWIP Array which is the core of the very compact QWIP thermal imager CATHERINE-XP.
Serial production of CATHERINE-XP has now started in THALES Optronique in order to meet the delivery schedule of the various programs for which it has been selected. A review of the QWIP Production status, CATHERINE-XP achievements and current programs are presented.
As THALES Optronique has based its today strategy on very compact TI in order to address the largest panel of platforms and applications, THALES Optronique is working in cooperation with Sofradir and TRT on the evolutions of the product to take advantage of the new capabilities offered by QWIP technology like bi-spectral or polarimetric. The achievements of these developments are also presented
THALES have developed for volume manufacture two high performance low cost thermal imaging cameras based on the THALES Research & Technology (TRT) 3rd generation gallium arsenide long wave Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) array. Catherine XP provides 768 x 575 CCIR video resolution and Catherine MP provides 1280 x 1024 SXGA video resolution. These compact and rugged cameras provide 24-hour passive observation, detection, recognition, and identification in the 8 to 12μm range, providing resistance to battlefield obscurants and solar dazzle, and are fully self-contained with standard power and communication interfaces. The cameras have expansion capabilities to extend functionality (for example automatic target detection) and have network battlefield capability. Both cameras benefit from the high quantum efficiency and freedom from low frequency noise of the TRT QWIP, allowing operation at 75 K, low integration times and non-interruptive non-uniformity correction. The cameras have successfully reached
technology readiness level 6/7 and have commenced environmental qualification testing in order to complete the development programmes. These latest additions to the THALES Catherine family provide high performance thermal imaging at an affordable cost.
This presentation deals with the following aspects: The THALES Group has successfully manufactured sensitive arrays using QWIP technology based on AsGa techniques through THALES Research and Technology Laboratory. This QWIP technology allows the manufacturing of staring arrays for Thermal Imagers (TI) working in LWIR band (8 - 12 μm). A review of this QWIP technology is presented. The THALES Group is offering a complete range of TI for several applications, from Hand Held version to integrated versions in sight, surveillance system and gimbal. The basic choice for TI used in land applications on the battlefield remains the LWIR band. THALES Optronique has based its today strategy on very compact TI in order to allow the largest panel of applications for hand held and vehicle applications. An overview of the achieved performances and applications is presented. The current developments allowing to take the best part of the QWIP technology are also presented.