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Optical Engineering

Size, weight, and power reduction of mercury cadmium telluride infrared detection modules
Author(s): Rainer Breiter; Tobias Ihle; Joachim C. Wendler; Holger Lutz; Stefan Rutzinger; Timo Schallenberg; Karl C. Hofmann; Johann Ziegler
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Paper Abstract

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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 2011
PDF: 8 pages
Opt. Eng. 50(6) 061010 doi: 10.1117/1.3578405
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 50, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
Rainer Breiter, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Tobias Ihle, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Joachim C. Wendler, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Holger Lutz, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Stefan Rutzinger, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Timo Schallenberg, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Karl C. Hofmann, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)
Johann Ziegler, AIM INFRAROT-MODULE GmbH (Germany)

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