The partnership between RVS, Seek Thermal and Freescale Semiconductor continues on the path to bring the latest technology and innovation to both military and commercial customers. The partnership has matured the 17μm pixel for volume production on the Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS) program in efforts to bring advanced production capability to produce a low cost, high performance product. The partnership has developed the 12μm pixel and has demonstrated performance across a family of detector sizes ranging from formats as small as 206 x 156 to full high definition formats. Detector pixel sensitivities have been achieved using the RVS double level advanced pixel structure. Transition of the packaging of microbolometers from a traditional die level package to a wafer level package (WLP) in a high volume commercial environment is complete. Innovations in wafer fabrication techniques have been incorporated into this product line to assist in the high yield required for volume production. The WLP seal yield is currently > 95%. Simulated package vacuum lives >> 20 years have been demonstrated through accelerated life testing where the package has been shown to have no degradation after 2,500 hours at 150°C. Additionally the rugged assembly has shown no degradation after mechanical shock and vibration and thermal shock testing. The transition to production effort was successfully completed in 2014 and the WLP design has been integrated into multiple new production products including the TWS and the innovative Seek Thermal commercial product that interfaces directly to an iPhone or android device.
Raytheon’s fourth generation uncooled microbolometer array technology with digital output, High Definition (HD) 1920 × 1200 format and 12 μm cell size enables uncooled thermal infrared (TIR) multispectral imagers with the sensitivity and spatial sampling needed for a variety of Earth observation missions in LEO, GEO and HEO. A powerful combination of small detector cell size, fast optics and high sensitivity achieved without cryogenic cooling leads to instruments that are much smaller than current TIR systems, while still offering the capability to meet challenging measurement requirements for Earth observation missions. To consider how this technology could be implemented for Earth observation missions, we extend our previous studies with visible wavelength CubeSat imagers for environmental observations from LEO and examine whether small thermal infrared imagers based on fourth generation uncooled technology could be made small enough to fit onboard a 3U CubeSat and still meet challenging requirements for legacy missions. We found that moderate spatial resolution (~200 m) high sensitivity cloud and surface temperature observations meeting legacy MODIS/VIIRS requirements could be collected successfully with CubeSat-sized imagers but that multiple imagers are needed to cover the full swath for these missions. Higher spatial resolution land imagers are more challenging to fit into the CubeSat form factor, but it may be possible to do so for systems that require roughly 100 m spatial resolution. Regardless of whether it can fit into a CubeSat or not, uncooled land imagers meeting candidate TIR requirements can be implemented with a much smaller instrument than previous imagers. Even though this technology appears to be very promising, more work is needed to qualify this newly available uncooled infrared technology for use in space. If these new devices prove to be as space worthy as the first generation arrays that Raytheon qualified and built into the THEMIS imager still operating successfully onboard Mars Odyssey 2001, new classes of low cost, uncooled TIR Earth instruments will be enabled that are suitable for use as primary and hosted payloads in LEO, GEO and HEO or in constellations of small satellites as small as CubeSats to support Earth science measurement objectives in weather forecasting, land imaging and climate variability and change.
This paper describes work being done at Raytheon-Santa Barbara Remote Sensing (SBRS) in the area of entropy reduction of remote sensing data on the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument. The VIIRS instrument will produce the largest amount of data on the NPOESS satellite platform, and thus has the greatest impact on data rate. The VIIRS instrument produces 22 bands of radiometric and imaging data, which must be transmitted to the spacecraft without loss of data integrity. VIIRS uses an implementation of the RICE algorithm, along with spectral subtraction and data trimming that are described in this paper, to provide lossless data compression. This paper will also describe a simulation that predicted the data reduction performance and the resulting sensor data rates when VIIRS observes the earth from orbit. This paper will also describe the VIIRS implementation of the Fault Tolerant 1394 data network that utilizes the 1394 ASIC chipset developed by the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO) and Northrop Grumman Space and Technology (NGST). This high-speed network will facilitate the reliable transmission of large amounts of compressed and uncompressed science and telemetry data from the VIIRS instrument to the NPOESS spacecraft.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Ultrafast Bandgap Photonics
18 April 2016 | Baltimore, Maryland, United States