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Proceedings Paper

The design of passively athermalized narrow- and wide-field-of-view infrared objectives for the OBSERVER unmanned air vehicle
Author(s): Richard C. Simmons; Paul A. Manning; Trevor V. Chamberlain
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Paper Abstract

Some years ago QinetiQ introduced a short-range reconnaissance unmanned air vehicle (UAV), known as OBSERVER, which carried a visible three-camera sensor. To increase its versatility, a compatible infrared (IR) thermal imaging (TI) sensor was developed for the vehicle for operation in the 8-12mm waveband with a dual field of view function. The sensor incorporates a specially designed camera board, employing two IR lead scandium tantalate (PST) detectors based on UK un-cooled TI technology. Since no cooling engine is required for the detectors, the sensor module is very lightweight and hence well suited to its UAV application. So as to achieve the minimum possible payload for the vehicle, in addition to the lightweight detectors and electronics board, compact low mass optical solutions were devised for the camera objectives. These functioned at a relative aperture of f/1.0 and were designed to provide stable focus and imaging performance over a comparatively large temperature span (-10°C to + 50°C) to enable all weather operation. In order to achieve an athermalisation scheme devoid of elaborate electro-mechanical drives, thermally passive solutions were developed for the objectives in which the differing thermal characteristics of the components were designed to self-cancel optically. In this paper, the design and performance limitations of the optics are discussed and the procedure employed for establishing a thin lens pre-design for one of the objectives is described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 December 2004
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 5612, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications, (6 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.582510
Show Author Affiliations
Richard C. Simmons, Precision Optical Engineering (United Kingdom)
Paul A. Manning, QinetiQ (United Kingdom)
Trevor V. Chamberlain, Precision Optical Engineering (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5612:
Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications
Ronald G. Driggers; David A. Huckridge, Editor(s)

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