6 April 2010


Sofradir demos video-quality version of 15µm-pitch IR detector in longwave format

At this week’s SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2010 symposium in Orlando, FL, USA (5–9 April), Sofradir of Châtenay-Malabry, near Paris, France, which manufactures cooled infrared detectors based on mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe) for military, space and industrial applications, is demonstrating a 640 x 512 15µm pixel-pitch IR detector featuring video quality imaging (VGA) in the longwave IR band (LWIR). The product is expected to be commercially available in June.

The key point is to address the problem of blooming in a 15µm-pitch LWIR product. Blooming occurs when one pixel has too much illumination, which overflows into a neighboring pixel. Sofradir already uses a mature technology that eliminates blooming in its LWIR detector product line, but the small-pitch Scorpio focal planar array (FPA) VGA LWIR detector involves a new solution. Scorpio also has the capacity to operate at higher temperatures up to 100K (–173°C), which is an advantage over the industry-standard 80K, as operating at higher temperatures means that cooler input power is reduced, and this enables greater cooler reliability and longer autonomy for battery-operated equipment.

“We at Sofradir are continually improving the quality and competitiveness of our IR detectors in the longwave range,” says Philippe Tribolet, VP R&D and technologies. “Reducing the pixel pitch is an important step to prepare our next range of full-performance longwave IR products,” he adds. 

The VGA LWIR detector will expand Sofradir’s range of small-pixel-pitch video-quality IR detectors from the midwave IR to the longwave IR band. The firm introduced the first 640x512 mid-wavelength (MWIR) 15µm-pitch IR detector in 2004, setting a new industry standard for IR detector performance and size. Small-pixel-pitch IR detectors are important in increasing performance (increased spatial resolution) and enabling new system architectures for defense and security equipment makers.

See related item:

Sofradir and Onera develop IR detector chip with integrated optics

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