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12 June 2008


Sofradir launches compact cooled 1/2 TV format MWIR detector

At next week’s Eurosatory 2008 defense exhibition in Paris (16–20 June), Sofradir of Veurey-Voroize, near Grenoble, France, which manufactures cooled infrared (IR) detectors based on mercury cadmium telluride (MCT), will launch what it claims is the industry’s most compact cooled 384 pixel x 288 pixel 15 micron-pitch 1/2 TV format mid-wave infrared (MWIR) detector.

Epsilon is the latest product to join Sofradir’s range of compact 15 micron-pitch MWIR detectors, for which MCT technology has been proven to be the best approach, says the firm. The other products include the 640 pixel x 512 pixel Scorpio and the 1280 pixel x 1024 pixel Jupiter, a top-of-the-line mega-pixel large-format array compatible with high-definition TV.

About half the size and weight of other 1/2 TV format MWIR detectors, the Epsilon responds to end user’ needs for lighter and more compact army gear, the firm says.
Defense manufacturers regard weight reduction as important to minimizing operator fatigue in military-grade hand-held systems such as IR night-vision goggles and to enabling smaller unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to carry payloads with cooled IR detectors.

For end-users, in addition to meeting lightweight requirements, Epsilon gives the type of identification and detection performance advantages that only cooled IR detectors can bring, reckons Sofradir.

For system integrators, its low power consumption, compactness and compatibility with very small batteries and small optics can help to simplify the design of new systems. Epsilon’s 15 micron pixel size is compatible with small IR optics, the key feature that allows system integrators to bring additional reductions in size and weight.

“We were the first to introduce the ‘now standard’ 15 micron-pitch IR detector and, with several hundred of those successfully delivered, we are the most experienced supplier in this market,” claims chairman and CEO Philippe Bensussan.

The underpinning concept in Epsilon’s design is minimizing power consumption, which has been achieved using new technologies and a very small cryogenic cooler. With power consumption of just 2W, which is about half that of standard cooled MWIR formats and close to what is required by microbolometers (IR detectors that do not need cooling), end users can either double the life of existing batteries or use smaller batteries to further reduce weight.

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