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Infrared (IR) detector features integrated optics

Thu, 04/01/2010 - 9:14am
Sofradir, a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space and industrial applications, announced today that it has designed a new Infrared (IR) detector with integrated optics in collaboration with France’s leading government research aerospace laboratory, Onera. The advanced IR detector chip opens up new possibilities in integration and compactness of IR imaging equipment. Sofradir will demonstrate the new development at the SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing symposium, April 5 - 9, in Orlando, Florida.

The innovative design is based on a standard Sofradir small pitch video quality IR detector (640 x 512 15 micron pixel pitch VGA format). What is new is that Sofradir and Onera have integrated an optical lens alongside the IR detector, a challenging feat that requires successful control all of the IR detector operating and performance parameters. As a result, this integrated IR detector chip can produce a stand alone image without the use of any other associated optics.

Sofradir says the demonstration IR detector provides a very large field of vision that is well suited for security surveillance applications. This is the first time Europeans have demonstrated the feasibility of an IR detector chip with integrated optics.

“Sofradir invests heavily in research and development to constantly push forward the performance and application of its cooled IR detectors,” says Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO at Sofradir. “Our collaboration with Onera, a centre of excellence in aerospace research, in developing the first IR chip with integrated optics is built upon a relationship that goes back many years. We are excited about the possibilities that this new development will bring our customers in security and surveillance applications.”

Sofradir says that this new integrated IR detector chip could reduce the amount of optics and electronics used in an IR imaging system to about one-third. For IR camera makers, it offers the potential of halving the size of future designed IR systems. “At present, this IR detector allows us to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating optics, but it can definitely open the way for other security applications for cooled IR detectors,” says Philippe Tribolet, VP R&D and Technologies.

Sofradir will present this integrated 640 x 512 15 micron pixel pitch VGA format demonstration chip at the SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing symposium, April 5 - 9, in Orlando, Florida, on booth # 635. SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2010 is one of the defense & security industry’s leading meetings for light-based and optronics applications, and brings together top researchers, scientists and engineers from the military, industry and academia. Programs cover the latest enabling technologies and applications in infrared, sensors, image analysis, and other systems and devices.

About Sofradir
Sofradir develops and manufactures advanced infrared detectors (IR) for military, space and commercial applications. It specializes in cooled IR detectors based on a sophisticated high performance technology, Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT), and its vast product portfolio of scanning and staring arrays covers the entire infrared spectrum. Sofradir also offers QWIP detectors developed in cooperation with Thales.

Sofradir's headquarters are located in Châtenay-Malabry, near Paris, France. Its manufacturing facilities and those of ULIS, its subsidiary that manufactures uncooled IR detectors, are located in Veurey-Voroize, near Grenoble, in France. Sofradir EC, the company’s US subsidiary, operates in Fairfield, NJ. Sofradir, ULIS and Sofradir EC employ more than 500 people. For more information, visit http://www.sofradir.com

About Onera
Onera is the leading aerospace and defense research & technology organization in France. Established in 1946, it is a state-owned body reporting to the French Ministry of Defense. With over 2,000 employees and more than 1500 researchers, Onera draws on its multidisciplinary expertise and test centre facilities unrivaled in Europe to serve public agencies, large industrial groups and small and medium sized businesses and industries. Thanks to its unique research partnership model, with five times more contract business per researcher than the average in its sector, Onera generated business volumes of EUR 202 million in 2008. A proven source of innovation, expertise and long-term vision, Onera has contributed to some of the most significant achievements in today’s aerospace sector, including Ariane5, the Airbus and Eurocopter range of products, Rafale and Falcon 7X.

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