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Proceedings Paper

Low-light-level EMCCD color camera
Author(s): Gerald B. Heim; Jon Burkepile; Wayne W. Frame
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Paper Abstract

Video cameras have increased in usefulness in military applications over the past four decades. This is a result of many advances in technology and because no one portion of the spectrum reigns supreme under all environmental and operating conditions. The visible portion of the spectrum has the clear advantage of ease of information interpretation, requiring little or no training. This advantage extends into the Near IR (NIR) spectral region to silicon cutoff with little difficulty. Inclusion of the NIR region is of particular importance due to the rich photon content of natural night illumination. The addition of color capability offers another dimension to target/situation discrimination and hence is highly desirable. A military camera must be small, lightweight and low power. Limiting resolution and sensitivity cannot be sacrificed to achieve color capability. Newly developed electron-multiplication CCD sensors (EMCCDs) open the door to a practical low-light/all-light color camera without an image intensifier. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp (BATC) has developed a unique color camera that allows the addition of color with a very small impact on low light level performance and negligible impact on limiting resolution. The approach, which includes the NIR portion of the spectrum along with the visible, requires no moving parts and is based on the addition of a sparse sampling color filter to the surface of an EMCCD. It renders the correct hue in a real time, video rate image with negligible latency. Furthermore, camera size and power impact is slight.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6209, Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems and Applications III, 62090F (5 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.667704
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald B. Heim, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Jon Burkepile, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Wayne W. Frame, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6209:
Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems and Applications III
Daniel J. Henry, Editor(s)

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