Over the last decade SCD has established a "state of the art" VOx μ-Bolometer product line. The market demands for low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) uncooled engines is steadily growing, where low SWaP is especially critical in battery-operated applications such as goggles and Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS). In this approach, SCD has developed a low-SWaP, shutter-less uncooled video core, with a foot-print of 31x31mm and sub Watt power consumption. The video core contains a temperature calibrated, High Sensitivity (HS) 640x480 17μm pitch detector (NETD ≤ 32mK @ 30Hz, F/1), packaged in a new TEC-less ceramic package (26x23mm). The video core contains superior image processing algorithms including: local and global Dynamic Range Compression (DRC), and spatial and temporal de-noising algorithms providing low NETD and stable and low Residual Non Uniformity (RNU) video image.
Electro-optical missile seekers pose exceptional requirements for infrared (IR) detectors. These requirements include: very short mission readiness (time-to-image), one-time and relatively short mission duration, extreme ambient conditions, high sensitivity, fast frame rate, and in some cases small size and cost. SCD is engaged in the development and production of IR detectors for missile seeker applications for many years. 0D, 1D and 2D InSb focal plane arrays (FPAs) are packaged in specially designed fast cool-down Dewars and integrated with Joule-Thomson (JT) coolers. These cooled MWIR detectors were integrated in numerous seekers of various missile types, for short and long range applications, and are combat proven. New technologies for the MWIR, such as epi-InSb and XBn-InAsSb, enable faster cool-down time and higher sensitivity for the next generation seekers. The uncooled micro-bolometer technology for IR detectors has advanced significantly over the last decade, and high resolution - high sensitivity FPAs are now available for different applications. Their much smaller size and cost with regard to the cooled detectors makes these uncooled LWIR detectors natural candidates for short and mid-range missile seekers. In this work we will present SCD's cooled and uncooled solutions for advanced electro-optical missile seekers.
Long range sights and targeting systems require a combination of high spatial resolution, low temporal NETD, and wide
field of view. For practical electro-optical systems it is hard to support these constraints simultaneously. Moreover,
achieving these needs with the relatively low-cost Uncooled μ-Bolometer technology is a major challenge in the design
and implementation of both the bolometer pixel and the Readout Integrated Circuit (ROIC).
In this work we present measured results from a new, large format (1024×768) detector array, with 17μm pitch. This
detector meets the demands of a typical armored vehicle sight with its high resolution and large format, together with
low NETD of better than 35mK (at F/1, 30Hz). We estimate a Recognition Range for a NATO target of better than 4 km
at all relevant atmospheric conditions, which is better than standard 2nd generation scanning array cooled detector. A
new design of the detector package enables improved stability of the Non-Uniformity Correction (NUC) to
environmental temperature drifts.
A new generation of high-performance uncooled detector arrays, with 17 and 25 μm pitch, improved sensitivity, and
extended spectral response were developed recently by SCD. This development brings the uncooled infrared technology
very close to the performance of traditional second generation cooled LWIR detectors, and enables a new range of
applications. We demonstrate the use of our Very High Sensitivity (VHS) 25 μm pitch detector with F/2.4, for long
range observation systems. We also present the new Wide-Band (WB) detector, where the detector absorption is tuned to
both the MWIR and LWIR bands, which is optimal for use in some applications such as situation awareness.
Furthermore, in this work we present our 17 μm pitch new family of detectors with different array formats (QVGA,
VGA and XGA). These detectors are targeting a wide range of applications, from medium-performance with low Size,
Weight and Power (SWaP) applications, up to high-performance imaging applications.
Short wavelength Infra Red (SWIR) imaging has gained considerable interest in recent years. The main applications
among others are: active imaging and LADAR, enhanced vision systems, low light level imaging and security
In this paper we will describe SCD's considerable efforts in this spectral region, addressing several platforms:
1. Extension of the mature InSb MWIR product line operating at 80K (cut-off wavelength of 5.4μm).
2. Extension of our new XB<sub>n</sub><i>n</i> InAsSb "bariode" technology operating at 150K (cut-off of 4.1μm).
3. Development of InGaAs detectors for room temperature operation (cut-off of 1.7μm)
4. Development of a SNIR ROIC with a low noise imaging mode and unique laser-pulse detection modes.
In the first section we will present our latest achievements for the cooled detectors where the SWIR region is combined
with MWIR response. Preliminary results for the NIR-VIS region are presented where advanced substrate removal
techniques are implemented on flip-chip hybridized focal plane arrays.
In the second part we will demonstrate our VGA, 15μm pitch, InGaAs arrays with dark current density below 1.5nA/cm<sup>2</sup>
at 280K. The InGaAs array is hybridized to the SNIR ROIC, thus offering the capability of low SWaP systems with
laser-pulse detection modes.
The market demand for low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) uncooled engines keeps growing. Low SWaP is especially
critical in battery-operated applications such as goggles and Thermal Weapon Sights. A new approach for the design of
the engines was implemented by SCD to optimize size and power consumption at system level.
The new approach described in the paper, consists of:
1. A modular hardware design that allows the user to define the exact level of integration needed for his system
2. An "open architecture" based on the OMAP<sup>TM</sup>530 DSP that allows the integrator to take advantage of unused
hardware (FPGA) and software (DSP) resources, for implementation of additional algorithms or functionality.
The approach was successfully implemented on the first generation of 25μm pitch BIRD detectors, and more recently on
the new, 640 x480, 17 μm pitch detector.
Over the last decade SCD has established a state of the art VO<sub>x</sub> μ-Bolometer product line. Due to its overall advantages
this technology is penetrating a large range of systems. In addition to a large variety of detectors, SCD has also recently
introduced modular video engines with an open architecture.
In this paper we will describe the versatile applications supported by the products based on 17μm pitch: Low SWaP
short range systems, mid range systems based on VGA arrays and high-end systems that will utilize the XGA format.
These latter systems have the potential to compete with cooled 2<sup>nd</sup> Gen scanning LWIR arrays, as will be demonstrated
by TRM3 system level calculations.
Proc. SPIE. 7834, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications VII
KEYWORDS: Nonuniformity corrections, Infrared imaging, Digital signal processing, Detection and tracking algorithms, Sensors, Image processing, Video, Video processing, Analog electronics, Single crystal X-ray diffraction
SCD's new 17μm pitch VGA VOx μ-Bolometer detector was introduced in April 2010. Due to their overall size, weight
and power advantages, 17μm pitch uncooled detectors are currently being considered for next generation systems such
as thermal weapon sights (TWS), driver vision enhancers (DVE) and digitally fused goggles (DENVG). In this paper we
describe a new video engine developed at SCD to support the new 17μm pitch VGA detector. First, the modular design
concept of the hardware for the new video engine is described. This is followed by a description of the software design
concept, including features that emphasize the open architecture and the provision for a customer to add on his own
algorithms and software. The detector and the engine are on low rate production these days. Full production is planned
Last year we have introduced the development program of SCD's 17μm pitch VGA VO<sub>x</sub> μ-Bolometer detector <sup>(1)</sup>. Due
to the overall size, weight and power advantages the 17μm pitch is currently being considered for the next generation
systems such as thermal weapon sights (TWS), driver vision enhancers (DVE) and digitally fused goggles (DENVG).
In the first part of this paper we will discuss in detail the performance of this detector. Specifically, we will elaborate on
the radiometric results, ROIC performance and operability. Detailed measurements for a wide temperature range will be
presented as well.
In the second part, we will describe some new capabilities and features that are enabled by the advanced 0.18um VLSI
technology. These features will be embedded in new products that are currently under development.
In this paper SCD's 17μm pitch large format VOx μ-Bolometer detector is introduced. In the first part the radiometric
performance and the challenges involved in achieving the desired pixel sensitivity are discussed. We elaborate on the
progress towards the performance design goal (< 50mK@F/1, 60Hz) utilizing various test structures and technology
demonstration platforms. The combination of reduced pixel size and high-end thermal sensitivity can provide smaller
light weight systems.
In the second part the ROIC architecture options will be presented in depth. New capabilities and features are enabled
by the advanced 0.18um VLSI technology. Explicitly, we address the contribution in terms of system flexibility,
simplification and reduced power dissipation. Some vital tasks, such as coarse non-uniformity correction, are done
internally thus facilitating the user interface.
In this paper we report on new developments associated with SCD VOx μ-Bolometer product line. Lately, we have
introduced the BIRD6401,2, which is a high-sensitivity (< 50 mK @ F/1, 60Hz) VGA format detector with 25 μm pitch.
In the first part we present new data extracted from extensive measurements. These measurements were conducted
under various environmental and power constraints, exhibiting superior temporal sensitivity, long-term stability and
In the second part we describe the system implications of special features that were embedded within the FPA.
Explicitly, we will address the benefits of some special features aimed at lowering the system power dissipation while
maintaining low temporal and spatial NETD.
Finally, in the last part we outline SCD's future roadmap and development directions. We will elaborate on our latest
progress towards improved pixel sensitivity (25mK@F/1), advanced 0.18um ROIC technology, and the combination of
the two towards smaller pitch (17 μm) arrays.
In this paper we report preliminary data of <i>BIRD640</i>, which is a high-sensitivity (50 mK @ F/1, 60Hz) VGA format
detector with 25 μm pitch. This high performance is achieved by utilizing an improved pixel design. The product is
architecturally compatible to <i>BIRD384</i> and contains SCD's proprietary unique features (e.g. "Power-Save", Ambient drift
The ROIC architecture follows the framework of the previous designs. It consists of an internal timing machine with a
single clock that facilitates the system interface. Extensive effort was invested in reducing the detector and system power
dissipation. The ROIC supports special "low power" modes, where considerable power is saved with only minor
With its superior temporal sensitivity, long-term stability and operational flexibility <i>BIRD640</i> serves as an ideal
candidate for high end and high resolution uncooled VGA systems, particularly hand-held applications.
The two-dimensional spatial response of a pixel in SCD's back-side illuminated InSb Focal Plane Array (FPA) is
measured directly for arrays with a small pitch, namely 30, 20 and 15&mgr;m. The characterization method uses a spot-scan
measurement and de-convolution algorithm to obtain the net spatial response of a pixel. Two independent methods are
used to measure the detector spatial response: a) direct spot-scan of a pixel with a focused beam; b) uniform illumination
upon back-side evaporated thin gold coating, in which sub-pixel apertures are distributed in precise positions across the
array. The experimental results are compared to a 3D numerical simulation with excellent agreement for all pitch
dimensions. The spatial response is used to calculate the crosstalk and the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) of the
pixel. We find that for all three pixel dimensions, the net spatial response width (FWHM) is equal to the pitch, and the
MTF width is inversely proportional to the pitch. Thus, the spatial resolution of the detector improves with decreasing
pixel size as expected. Moreover, for a given optics and smaller array pitch, the overall system spatial resolution is
limited more by the optical diffraction than by the detector. We show actual improved spatial resolution in an imaging system with a detector of smaller array pitch.
SCD has established an uncooled detector product line based on the high-end VO<sub>x</sub> μ-bolometer technology. The first
PFA launched was <i>BIRD384</i>, a 384x288 (or 320x240) configurable format with 25μm pitch. Typical NETD values for
these FPAs are below 50mK with an F/1 aperture and 60 Hz frame rate.
The product exhibits superior image uniformity, stability and reduced power consumption, making it most suitable for a
broad range of "high-end" military and commercial applications.
In this paper we report on our progress in development of new products in accordance with SCD's uncooled products
1. A "sensitive" version of <i>BIRD384</i> with an improved NETD of ~ 30mK @ F/1, 60Hz frame rate. This
performance is achieved by optimizing concurrently the membrane structure, pixel architecture and ROIC
2. An improved version of <i>BIRD384</i> ROIC that supports 100/120Hz frame rate and high dynamic range ("Fire Man" option).
3. First data of the <i>BIRD640</i> - a 640x480 array with 25μm pitch and NETD ≤ 50mK @ F/1, 60Hz frame rate.
Last year SCD presented an un-cooled detector product line based on the high-end VO<sub>x</sub> microbolometer technology. The first PFA (<i>BIRD</i>384) launched was a 384x288 software configurable (to 320x240 or other) format with 25μm pitch<sup>1</sup>. NETD values for these FPAs are better then 50mK with an F/1 aperture and 60 Hz frame rate.
Since then SCD has concentrated in improving both spatial and temporal performance. In order to reduce the Residual
Non-Uniformity (RNU) and increase the time span between shutter operations, SCD has incorporated various features within the FPA and supporting algorithms<sup>2</sup>.
Improved temporal performance was achieved by optimizing concurrently the membrane structure and ROIC electronics. SCD has demonstrated temporal NETD of ~ 20mK @ F/1 at 30Hz on a 160x120 BIRD compatible array.
This figure of merit, accompanied by the superior stability and reduced power consumption, makes SCD's VOx based detectors suitable candidates for a broad range of "high-end" military and commercial applications.
SCD has recently presented an uncooled detector product line based on the high-end VO<sub>x</sub> bolometer technology. The first FPA launched, named BIRD - short for Bolometer Infra Red Detector, is a 384x288 (or 320x240) configurable format with 25μm pitch. Typical NETD values for these FPAs range at 50mK with an F/1 aperture and 60 Hz frame rate. These detectors also exhibit a relatively fast thermal time constant of approximately 10 msec, as reported previously.
In this paper, the special features of BIRD optimized for unattended sensor applications are presented and discussed.
Unattended surveillance using sensors on unattended aerial vehicles (UAV's) or micro air vehicles (MAV's) , unattended ground vehicles (UGV's) or unattended ground sensor (UGS) are growing applications for uncooled detectors. This is due to their low power consumption, low weight, negligible acoustic noise and reduced price. On the other hand, uncooled detectors are vulnerable to ambient drift. Even minor temperature fluctuations are manifested as fixed pattern noise (FPN). As a result, frequent, shutter operation must be applied, with the risk of blocking the scenery in critical time frames and loosing information for various scenarios.
In order to increase the time span between shutter operations, SCD has incorporated various features within the FPA and supporting algorithms. This paper will discuss these features and present some illustrative examples.
Minimum power consumption is another critical issue for unattended applications. SCD has addressed this topic by introducing the "Power Save" concept. For very low power applications or for TEC-less (Thermo-Electric-Cooler) applications, the flexible dilution architecture enables the system to operate the detector at a number of formats. This, together with a smooth frame rate and format transition capability turns SCD's uncooled detector to be well suited for unattended applications. These issues will be described in detail as well.
SCD has recently presented an un-cooled detector product line based on the high-end VO<sub>x</sub> bolometer technology<sup>1</sup>. The
first PFA launched, <i>BIRD</i>, is a 384x288 (or 320x240) configurable format with 25μm pitch. Typical NETD values for
these FPAs range at 50mK with an F/1 aperture and 60 Hz frame rate. These detectors also exhibit a relatively fast
thermal time constant of approximately 10 msec.
In this paper we elaborate on the special advanced features that were incorporated within the ROIC and supporting
algorithms. In this framework we have addressed two important issues: the power consumption and the time span
between shutter activations. Minimum power consumption is a critical issue for many un-cooled applications. SCD has
addressed this by introducing the "Power-Save" concept accompanied with flexible dilution architecture. The paper will
present recent results exhibiting the various advantages.
One of the limiting factors on the performance of un-cooled detectors is their vulnerability to ambient drift. Usually,
even minor temperature fluctuations are manifested as high residual non-uniformity (RNU) or fixed pattern noise (FPN).
As a result frequent shutter operations must be applied, with the risk of blocking the scenery in critical time frames. The
challenge is thus twofold: increase the time span between shutter corrections and achieve better control of its activation.
For this purpose <i>BIRD</i> provides two complementing mechanisms: A real-time (frame-by-frame) ambient drift compensation accompanied by an RNU prediction mechanism. The paper will discuss these features in detail and present illustrative system implementations.
SCD is unveiling the first member of its new uncooled product line based on the high-end VOx technology. The detector is software configurable to various format standards including 384x288, 320x240 and others with 25μm pitch. The NETD values for these FPAs are better then 50mK with F#/1 aperture and 60 Hz frame rate. These detectors also exhibit a relatively fast thermal time constant of approximately 10msec. In order to improve the system level "cost-performance" in terms of power consumption and weight, SCD has introduced special features within the FPA & package. Among them is a proprietary "Power Save" architecture, in which the die temperature can be stabilized to the ambient temperature or a close enough discrete value, covering the range between -40c and 70c. Thus, the TEC power consumption is considerably reduced with minimal performance degradation. An additional benefit is improved "mission readiness" which is of vital importance for various system applications. A major limitation of systems based on uncooled detectors is the poor resilience to the ambient temperature drift. This drift degrades the spatial non-uniformity. As a result, frequent corrections using an optical shutter are required, specifically during the camera stabilization period. In order to increase the time span between shutter operations, SCD has incorporated various real-time monitoring features within the FPA and supporting algorithms. These features reduce the spatial noise by an order of magnitude.