Optical EngineeringSolid state active/passive night vision imager using continuous-wave laser diodes and silicon focal plane arrays
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Passive imaging offers covertness and low power, while active imaging provides longer range target acquisition without the need for natural or external illumination. This paper describes a focal plane array (FPA) concept that has the low noise needed for state-of-the-art passive imaging and the high-speed gating needed for active imaging. The FPA is used with highly efficient but low-peak-power laser diodes to create a night vision imager that has the size, weight, and power attributes suitable for man-portable applications. Video output is provided in both the active and passive modes. In addition, the active mode is Class 1 eye safe and is not visible to the naked eye or to night vision goggles.