Proceedings PaperInfrared detectors in France: a genesis
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France has been involved from the very beginning in the development of infrared technologies. For fifty years now, French scientists and engineers have been working on the fascinating albeit sometimes elusive technologies which are required to master optronics equipment and at the heart of them, infrared detectors. A general overview of this adventure is presented starting with the activities in the late 1940s of the first company in France dedicated to infrared equipment, les Etablissements Jean Turck, to the present activities on second generation IRFPAs handled by Lir and Sofradir. Special attention is given to the scientific activities within the French Universities and the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) as well as the industrial activities within first of all Sat, then Thomson CSF, and now Sofradir. This paper does not pretend to cover exhaustively all the IR detector activities of the last thirty years in France. Rather than trying to cover all these activities, which anyhow would be impossible, I prefer to focus on what, I think, have been the unique aspects of IR detector development in France. One is a technological issue, the PV choice focused on MCT. And the second is an organizational issue, the Lir-Sofradir mode of operation and cooperation.