Imaging of gas leaks (especially of methane, but also of other gases) has traditionally been done with portable infrared cameras based on cooled InSb and QWIP FPAs. In these, either the FPA spectral response is tuned to the absorption wavelength of the gas of interest or a spectral filter is used in front of it. Alternatively, high-end spectrally selective (Fourier Transform Infrared – FTIR) cameras (also based on cooled FPAs) are used to detect gas leaks with high sensitivity, but at a price premium.
Now, a new generation of innovative uncooled gas sensors are being developed to not just monitor large gas leaks but also act as monitors for small leaks.
Overseas IR Detector Companies Expanding U.S. Operations
The Strategy Behind the Move
General Electric’s GE Commercial Finance is taking a 15% minority stake in Ulis, the supplier of uncooled amorphous silicon microbolometers.
Sofradir has been awarded a EUR 3.2 million (USD 4.2 million) contract by NEC Toshiba Space for an infrared detector to be used on the Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM) satellite of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Sofradir is starting construction on a new Fab near Grenoble that will double its production capacity of cooled infrared focal plane arrays and position the company to supply 3rd Gen FPAs. The new facility will produce mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) FPAs by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) on 4” germanium substrates (compared to the currently used 2” CZT substrates).