By topic (Uncooled Sensors)


July 2017

June 2017

Standardizing SWIR Measurements

A Proposed New Radiometric Unit

IR Sensors Start-Up Aims to Take on PIR Security Market

Mosaic microbolometer pixel technology

May 2017

L3 Infrared Products Readies Release of 12 Micron Microbolometers

Improves Performance of both 12 and 17 micron FPAs

Aselsan Developing Infrared Detector Capability

Uncooled fab already under construction

April 2017

3M Buying Scott Safety

Another Re-alignment in Fire Fighting Thermal Imagers

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

New FAA Rule Opens the Door to Widespread Use of Infrared Aircraft Landing Systems

Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) with both cooled and uncooled FPAs

December 2016

Elbit Consolidating EVS Businesses in U.S. and Israel

Cooled and uncooled for commercial aircraft pilots

November 2016

October 2016

The Latest Progress in Ultra-Low-Cost HgTe Quantum Dots for Infrared Imaging

Good Initial Images in the MWIR – But Much Remains to Be Done

Crew-Served Weapon Sight (FWS-CS) Awards Made to DRS and BAE Systems

Another Step in Ramping up Uncooled Sensors

September 2016

August 2016

DARPA WIRED Program Aims to Move Infrared Detectors to a New Level

Multi-megapixel infrared imaging at room temperature for wafer-level scalable FPAs at low-cost

U.S. Export Control Reform of Infrared in the Home Stretch

Category XII of the USML (ITAR sensors) and the Export Administration Regulations administered by the Commerce Department have been agreed to by an interagency process (including the Commerce Department (BIS), the Defense Department and the State Department). CAT XII final rules have been submitted by BIS and the State Department to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  

July 2016

June 2016

Gas Imaging Using Uncooled FPAs

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.

APS Systems: A Future Big Market for Infrared FPAs?

Active Protection Systems (APS) for armored vehicles are becoming a necessity as rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-armor munitions become more effective against even the best armor. In APS systems an incoming round is detected and tracked and a counter munition is fired to destroy the round before it can damage the vehicle.

In the most recent systems, infrared FPAs are being used.

May 2016

St. Johns Optical Licenses Lead Selenide Detector FPA Technologies

Solution deposited and thermal vapor deposited.

Airbus Defense Electronics Business to be Acquired by KKR

A new home for Airbus DS Optronics

 

April 2016

Teledyne Dalsa Launching Uncooled Camera Core

Teledyne Dalsa (Waterloo, Canada) is releasing a new uncooled camera, Calibir, based on a Ulis 640 x 480 amorphous silicon microbolometer with 17 micron pixels.

March 2016

Commercial and Dual Use Infrared Imaging Market at the Crossroads

Big Increases in Unit Volumes Have Not Translated to Revenue Growth

February 2016

FLIR Systems Breaks New Ground with Uncooled Cores

FLIR Systems is launching its Boson™ cores - 12 µm pitch, wafer-level-packaged (WLP) VOx microbolometer arrays with 320 x 256 and 640 x 512 formats - that provide new levels of performance in tiny packages.

FAA Guidance on Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS) is Another Step toward Combined EVS/SVS

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Airworthiness Circular with guidance for obtaining airworthiness approval for installation of a Synthetic Vision System (SVS) – which the FAA calls a “Synthetic Vision Guidance System (SVGS)” - in aircraft.

SPIE’s IR Technology and Applications Conference – A Preview

Three SPIE infrared technology and application conferences – all part of SPIE’s DCS16 Defense & Security symposium – will feature the latest developments in IR technology and sensor systems. Two sessions of the “Infrared Technology and Applications XLII” conference have been separated from that conference. They have been expanded into two new conferences – “Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR” and “Tri-Technology Device Refrigeration (TTDR)”. The reasons for this separation are the important new developments taking place in the fields of optics and cryocoolers.

January 2016

Seek Thermal Rolling Out Mid-Format Uncooled Core

Seek Thermal (Goleta, California) is ready to go into production with a new uncooled core based on Wafer-Level-Packaged (WLP) 320 x 240 VOx microbolometers with 12 micron pixels, a significant upgrade over the company’s existing 206 x 156/12 microbolometers.

UTC Hits Home Run with N2 Acquisition

UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) has acquired N2 Imaging Systems (Irvine, California). N2, which will stay at its current location, will be part of the UTAS intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) business, which includes Sensors Unlimited and Cloud Cap Technology (Hood River, Oregon).

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. However, DRS’s stake in N2 was also acquired, thus making UTAS the sole owner.

 

December 2015

i3system Prepares to Launch Smartphone thermal Imager in U.S.

i3system (Daejon, South Korea) is preparing to launch its Thermal Expert™ smartphone thermal imager in the U.S. The company’s thermal imaging attachment makes use of i3systems’ own 384 x 288 uncooled microbolometer with 17 micron pixels and works with Android Smartphones.

DVE (Degraded Visual Environment) Program Ready to Take Off

Helicopter pilots are constantly faced with a loss of visibility when close to the ground, especially in sandy terrain. Such brownout conditions in degraded visual environments (DVE) have resulted in the loss of nearly 400 Army aircraft, 150 lives and cost over $1 billion. The solution is expected to lie in multispectral sensors (Infrared, Lidar - 3D infrared and millimeter wave and sensor fusion).

November 2015

More Consolidation in Fire Fighting Thermal Imagers

Avon Rubber plc (UK) has acquired the “Argus” thermal imaging fire fighting business of E2V Technologies (Chelmsford, Essex, UK) for £3.5 million in cash ($5.4 million).

The company’s Avon Protection unit, which also makes SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus), has had a small presence in the fire thermal imaging market with its nvision XTP, a thermal imager based on a 320 x 240 amorphous silicon microbolometer made by L-3 Infrared Products.

Seek Thermal OEM Products Ready to Take Off

 

Seek Thermal – in addition to its smartphone attachments – has been aggressively courting OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to incorporate its 206 x 156/12 VOx microbolometer cores in their cameras for applications for predictive maintenance/building inspection, drones payloads, security cameras, automotive night vision, etc.

 

October 2015

Infrared in China

While the world is agonizing over weakness in the Chinese economy, infrared technology and the infrared industry in China are booming. They are driven not so much by commercial export markets but mostly by domestic government procurement programs and private investment spending.

Helping to accelerate this was a large government program during the past year.

At the recent CIOE China International Optoelectronic Expo in Shenzhen companies showed off the latest developments in cooled and uncooled detectors and systems.

 

Uncooled Infrared Detectors in China

The presence of uncooled infrared technology in China started more than 13 years ago when Ulis began to supply uncooled amorphous silicon (a-Si) microbolometers to companies such as SATIR, Guide Infrared and Dali.

Since then, FLIR Systems has also supplied VOx uncooled modules, but with strict export restrictions on array size and frame rate.

The success of uncooled detector technology developed in the west caused Chinese companies to undertake major development programs to initiate a domestic supply of both a-Si and VOx microbolometers.

The current status of these developments is summarized here.

September 2015

DIR Technologies Introducing New Thermal Imaging System for On-line Package Inspections

DIR Technologies (Haifa, Israel) is introducing a new thermal imaging system for 100% on-line inspection of induction-sealed bottles used in Food, Cosmetics and other industries.

The I2VS (Induction Integrity Verification System) Lite verifies the aluminum foil seal at the top of bottles, such as those containing vitamins and packaged food.

The system is a follow on to the company’s standard I2VS system which is used in the pharmaceutical industry.

The company makes use of both cooled and uncooled FPAs to view the integrity of the seal at rates up to 400 bottles per minute (which is as fast as the induction sealing machines are capable of heat sealing prior to inspection.)

August 2015

A New Supplier of InGaAs Detectors Emerges

Startup Princeton Infrared Technologies, PIRT (Monmouth Junction, New Jersey) has emerged from its stealth mode to offer InGaAs FPAs for high-volume markets. The company’s founder and President is Martin Ettenberg, a veteran of SWIR detectors who spent 14 years at Sensors Unlimited (now part of UTC) developing and marketing InGaAs FPAs. 

The company’s first product is a 1280 x 1024 InGaAs FPA with 12 micron pixels that can operate at 100 Hz (or at 390 Hz in a 640 x 512 window). A science camera based on this FPA is expected to be released in the Fall.

Price Competition Heats up In Fire Fighting Thermal Imagers

E2V (Chelmsford, UK) is launching new fire fighting thermal imagers in an effort to counter recently introduced new lower-priced cameras made by FLIR Systems.

The British company, which pioneered fire fighting thermal imagers more than 30 years ago, is rolling out two new Argus-brand thermal imagers with added features and lower prices.

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

Agilent Partners with Nippon Avionics

Introduces Thermography Camera

June 2014

Russian Thermal Weapon Sight

Owning Some of the Night

BAE Systems Introduces Small-Pixel VOx Microbolometer Core

Seeks Re-entry Into Commercial Market

April 2014

Sweeping the Field

FLIR One Smartphone Imager Discourages One Competitor

March 2014

January 2014

FLIR Launches Double Whammy

Ultra Low-Cost Thermal Core and Smartphone Attachment

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

FLIR and Fluke Launch New Thermography Cameras

Jockeying for Space at the Low-End

 

September 2013

DARPA PIXNET Program Gets Underway

Ultra-Small Muti-Band Uncooled Camera

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

SiOnyx Launches NIR/SWIR Black Silicon FPAs

Improved Low Light Level Imaging for Night Vision

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

Turkish Start-Ups Enter Uncooled FPA and ROIC Markets

Two start-ups in Turkey are vying for a portion of the infrared market

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

Spectrolab Moves InGaAs APDs into Production

An Enabling Technology for 3D Imaging

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

United Technologies Acquiring Goodrich

A New Player in Infrared

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

DARPA Funding Tiny, Low-Cost Uncooled FPAs and Camera Cores

Pushing Uncooled Infrared Toward a Cell Phone Model

June 2011

May 2011

Terahertz Imaging Using Uncooled Microbolometers

NEC Improves Both Passive and Active Mode Cameras

April 2011

March 2011

EVS Takes One Step Closer to More Widespread Use

Honeywell’s Demonstration of Blended Infrared and Synthetic Vision on Primary Flight Displays

February 2011

ITT to Split into Three Companies

Defense Segment Will Continue Work on Night Vision

January 2011

Teledyne Buying DALSA

Synergies in Infrared

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

Automotive Night Vision Takes Another Leap Forward

Autoliv Tests its New Thermal and Near-Infrared Fusion System

Mikron Moves its Operations

LumaSense Consolidates

September 2010

FLIR Systems Acquiring ICx Technologies

Integrating a Diversified Portfolio of Technologies

Raytheon Wins SDB II Program

A Trend in Seeker Technology?

August 2010

Interest in Infrared Increases in Japan

New Support for Small Pixel Uncooled Microbolometers

Jostling for Space at the Low End

Infrared Cameras for Building Inspection

July 2010

Setting Up Shop in the U.S.

Overseas IR Detector Companies Expanding U.S. Operations

BAE Systems to Reorganize in U.S.

The Effect on Infrared Operations

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

A New German Capability in Uncooled

Fraunhofer Institute Makes Large Format Uncooled Microbolometer

March 2010

February 2010

The Effect of Eased U.S. Export Controls on Uncooled Infrared Cameras

U.S. Also Proposing Easier Export Controls for Thermal Imagers in Two Application Areas

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

Army Makes a Second Laser Targeting Locator Module (LTLM) Award

Northrop Grumman Wins with its Mark VIIE

FLIR Systems Acquires OmniTech Partners

Adds Image Intensified Systems and Fused IR/I2 Systems to its Portfolio of Products

October 2009

Infrared in Japan

The Latest Developments

September 2009

Pushing Uncooled Detector Technology to Its Limits

Smaller Pixels and Larger Formats

August 2009

July 2009

General Dynamics Buying Axsys

How Will the Acquisition Affect the Commercial and Military Infrared Markets?

June 2009

U.S. Export Controls on Uncooled Infrared Cameras Eased Drastically

Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Manufacturers

Moving Microbolometer Vacuum Packaging into Mass Production

Ritsumeikan University Has a Solution

May 2009

April 2009

Axsys Technologies Puts Itself up for Sale

Some of the Potential Buyers

IRISYS Moves its Pyroelectric FPA to a Larger Format

Introduces New Low-End Thermography Camera

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

BAE Systems PbSe Development

Company Pursues Military, Commercial Markets

November 2008

Aircraft EVS

Market Separates into High and Low Ends

Axsys Expands Operations

Increases Product Offerings

Sofradir Buys Electrophysics

The Strategy Behind the Move

October 2008

September 2008

Ulis to Supply Microbolometers to Sagem for FELIN Program

Ulis has landed a five year contract with Sagem Défense Sécurité (Paris, France) to be one of the primary suppliers of uncooled microbolometers for weapon sights and handheld infrared cameras, including those used in FELIN, the French Army’s Future Infantry Soldier System.

Goodrich SUI SWIR Camera on Scan Eagle UAV

Candidates for STUAS Payload Line Up

American HealthChoice Launches OmniBody Scan

The Latest Attempt at Infrared Diagnostic Breast Imaging

August 2008

Uncooled FPAs in France

Uncooled microbolometer development in France has been very rapid partly because of the cooperation between the CEA/Leti labs and Ulis

SCD and Sagem Sign Long-Term Supplier Agreement

Uncooled microbolometers for Sagem systems

July 2008

L-3 Infrared Products Downsizes

L-3 Infrared Products laid off 10% of its 180 employees in June in an effort to stem the flow of red ink.

Former Indigo Execs Prevail Over FLIR Systems in Lawsuit

FLIR Systems has lost a lawsuit against two former Indigo Systems executives whom it claimed were misappropriating trade secrets and against whom FLIR was seeking a permanent injunction to prevent them from starting a new venture to produce uncooled microbolometers.

June 2008

Lead Salts Make a Comeback

Imaging lead salt FPAs are poised to make a comeback for niche military applications after having almost disappeared from view.

Last month the U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows) a 20 month $6.1 million contract to continue development on a two-color uncooled, midwave, Lead Selenide (PbSe) Passive Infrared Cueing System (PICS).

DX Rating for Uncooled FPAs Causes Commercial Shortage

The high priority for MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles and their infrared sensors, has led the U.S. Department of Defense to place a DX rating on components, such as uncooled microbolometers that are used in the Driver’s Vision Enhancers (DVE) on these vehicles.

FLIR Systems Pushes Prices Below $3K

Competition in low-end thermography cameras is heating up. FLIR Systems’ latest introduction, the i5 camera, pushes prices below $3K—a level unheard of just a few years ago.

IDGA Night Vision Conference

The 2-day IDGA Night Vision Conference at the end of July includes a number of high-level presentations

Automotive Night Vision Aftermarket Price Reduction

Although infrared automotive night vision systems are usually supplied as a factory-installed option, an aftermarket is developing…

Finmeccanica to Acquire DRS

Finmeccanica S.p.A. (Italy) has agreed to acquire DRS Technologies for $5.2 billion in cash.

May 2008

GE Takes Minority Stake in Ulis

General Electric’s GE Commercial Finance is taking a 15% minority stake in Ulis, the supplier of uncooled amorphous silicon microbolometers.

Toyota Introducing NIR Active Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection

Toyota is introducing a near-infrared (NIR) active night vision system called Night View on the Crown Hybrid

April 2008

The Race to 17 Micron Pixels

Manufacturers of uncooled microbolometers are racing to develop and introduce focal plane arrays with 17 micron pixels. The smaller size pixels are seen by producers as a way to differentiate their products and as a path to lower cost and higher volume markets.

Uncooled BST Being Phased Out

L-3 Infrared Products is phasing out the production of uncooled BST ferroelectric FPAs and cameras. The company expects to stop producing BST detectors in mid-2009 but will support these products for another three years.

L-3 Buying Northrop Grumman’s Electro-Optical Systems Business

L-3 Communications has signed an agreement to acquire Northrop Grumman's Electro-Optical Systems (EOS) business for $175 million in cash. The EOS business had 2007 revenues of approximately $190 million in night vision goggles, weapons sights, driver viewers, image intensifier tubes and applied optics products.

March 2008

Infrared Markets Soar

World commercial and dual-use infrared imaging markets soared by 30% in 2007.

Thales UK Wins SSARF Program

Thales UK has been awarded the contract for the UK’s Surveillance System and Range Finding (SSARF) requirement. The company won with the latest version of its Joint-Target Acquisition System (J-TAS), a bi-ocular handheld sight that combines daylight and thermal vision (640 x 480 VOx uncooled microbolometer from DRS) with an eye-safe laser range finder embedded military GPS and azimuth angular referencing.

Goodrich Forms New ISR Business Unit

Goodrich Corp. has formed a new ISR Systems (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) business unit out of the former Optical & Space Systems (OSS) division. The new unit has its headquarters in Chelmsford, Mass., and includes operations in Danbury, Conn., Albuquerque, N.M., Princeton, N.J., Ithaca, N.Y., and Malvern (UK).

February 2008

New Fluke Cameras Push Pricing Below $5K

Fluke is introducing four new handheld cameras which are pushing the pricing of thermography cameras below $5000. Two of the new cameras, Ti10 and Ti25, are intended for industrial and electrical inspections; the other two TiR and TiR1, are intended for building inspection.

Princeton Lightwave Developing FPAs for 3D Imaging

Princeton Lightwave, Inc. (PLI), has been awarded a $3.5 million DARPA contract to develop an FPA with single photon sensitivity for use in 3D imaging applications such as those demonstrated in the Jigsaw program. PLI will develop InGaAsP/InP Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (GmAPDs) arrays optimized for single-photon detection at 1.06 µm.

BAE Systems Opens New Sensor Development Center

BAE Systems is opening a new 33,000 square foot electro-optics/infrared Sensor Technology Design Center to support military products based on the company’s VOx microbolometers.

SPIE’s Infrared Technology and Applications Conference

SPIE’s Infrared Technology and Applications XXXIV Conference – a part of SPIE’s Defense & Security Symposium - will feature the latest developments in IR technology and sensor systems. The four day conference, with concurrently running sessions on Monday and Tuesday, will be held from March 17 to 20 at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

FLIR/Cedip Acquisition Closes

FLIR Systems has completed the acquisition of 69.3% of the shares (at 19 euros per share or a total of 42.3 million euros) of Cedip Infrared Systems after obtaining approval from the French Ministry of Finance and Economy. FLIR Systems Holdings SAS, the company’s French subsidiary will now proceed to acquire the remaining shares of Cedip for the same 19 euro price.

January 2008

New Gen EVS Ready for 2008

A new generation of Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) for aircraft is close to being certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Kollsman’s EVS II, an enhanced version of its original EVS, makes use of SCD’s 320 x240 InSb FPA on a Blue Fairy read-out and provides 30% increase in sensitivity.

NEC/Nippon Avionics Reorganize Infrared Businesses

Nippon Avionics plans to reorganize and consolidate its infrared businesses, including NEC San-ei Instruments, into the new company, NEC Avio Infrared Technologies Co., Ltd.

Isonics-Bell Labs Uncooled Development Suspended

The effort by Isonics Corp. to develop an uncooled focal plane array by partnering with Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs has hit a funding road block after Isonics and its subsidiary SensIT failed to make a recent installment payment on the $12 million development program.

Teledyne to Acquire Judson

Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC has entered into an agreement to acquire Judson Technologies, LLC.

December 2007

Autoliv Plans New Night Vision Product Launch

Autoliv is preparing to introduce its new Night Vision 2 system to aid drivers of passenger cars when driving at night. The new system will offer significant new capabilities while simultaneously lowering the cost to automakers.

Goodrich SUI Wins DARPA MISI Program

Goodrich SUI has received the sole award under DARPA’s Micro-Sensors for Imaging (MISI) program.

ICx Launches IPO

ICx Technologies launched an Initial Public Offering of 5 million shares of its common stock at a price of $16.00 per share on the NASDAQ market. However, the company was caught in the volatility of the markets and shares dropped to under $8 before recovering to over $9 on November 27.

November 2007

A-Si Matches VOx

Amorphous silicon (a-Si) uncooled microbolometers made by ULIS are increasingly reaching performance levels previously attained only by VOx microbolometers.

Halfway Between an FPA and a Spot Sensor

Researchers at Ritsumeikan University have developed a very low-cost thermal array that is more than a spot thermal sensor, but not quite a staring focal plane array. The device, dubbed Infrared Position Sensitive Detector (IRPSD), is an array of uncooled thermopiles, which is not intended to form an image, but provide position information on the object being viewed.

Textron Acquiring UIC/AAI

Textron Crop. is acquiring UIC Corp., the parent of AAI Corp., for $1.1 billion in a cash tender offer. AAI Corp. makes the Shadow 200, 300 and 400 UAVs; and is teamed with Honeywell on the micro-air-vehicle (MAV), which uses a ducted fan propulsion system to enable vertical take-off and landing.

BAE Systems Wins CROWS II Uncooled Sights

BAE Systems Infrared Imaging Systems has been awarded a five-year IDIQ contract for up to 6,500 uncooled TIM1500 modules for use in the CROWS II (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station) made by Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace AS.

DRS Wins ASMS Phase II Award

DRS has been selected for Phase II of the Advanced Soldier Mobility Sensor (ASMS) program - to develop a low power sensor with digitally fused uncooled LWIR and Image Intensified (I2) images for use in a helmet mounted vision sensor for mobility, target detection, and situational awareness in complex terrain.

October 2007

FLIR Buying Cedip

FLIR Systems has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Cedip Infrared Systems in a deal that values the French company at 62.7 million euros (approximately $86.4 million).

New Uncooled EVS Systems

Max-Viz is introducing upgraded versions of its uncooled Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) for aircraft pilots. The company is now making use of 25 µm pixel microbolometers in all of its new products.

Soldato del Futuro

The EO/IR components of Italy’s Future Soldier System (Soldato del Futuro) - which are being developed by Galileo Avionica - are going through initial testing.

September 2007

DRS Seeks End to TWS Problems

DRS Technologies is seeking to put an end to its Thermal Weapon Sight woes after having suspended shipments of TWS II for over five months due to a boresighting problem.

French InGaAs Capability

The Alcatel-Thales III-V Lab. has developed 320 x 256 InGaAs FPAs with good performance.

 

World Military IR Markets

The world military infrared systems market grew at a blazing growth rate in 2006.

BAE Systems Wins Digital ENVG

BAE Systems Infrared Imaging Systems has won an advanced technology demonstration award for the Digital Enhanced Night Vision Goggle, ENVG(D).

August 2007

Obzerv Range-Gated Camera Combined with Radar

Obzerv Technologies’ range gated camera has been integrated with radar in order to provide maritime security for a critical application in Asia. The integrated system allows long range detection of threats by the radar which then cues the Obzerv ARGC-2400 range-gated camera, which makes use of a Diode Laser Illumination System (DALIS™) operating at 808 or 860 nm.

Fluke Acquires Ircon

Fluke has acquired Ircon from Spectris plc for $33 million on a debt and cash-free basis and subject to a working capital adjustment. Ircon specializes in spot infrared sensors including on-line IR thermometers, portable spot thermometers and line scanners.

DARPA MTO Solicits New Programs

The Defense Advancement Research Projects Agency, DARPA is soliciting a wide range of new research projects for its Microsystems Technology Office (MTO). Infrared technologies play an important part.

Low-End EVS Market Starts to Take Off

Amateur-built aircraft in the U.S. are giving a lift to a new class of low-end Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) for use by the pilots of these planes when flying at night or in reduced visibility. This growth is being driven by the fact that under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulations, no certification is required to use an EVS on amateur-built “experimental” aircraft.

Goodrich to Modify U-2 Sensors for Space

Goodrich ISR Systems has been awarded a contract by the Naval Research Laboratory to modify the high-performance imaging sensor used on the high-altitude U-2 surveillance aircraft for use as a space payload.

July 2007

TWS II Bridge Awards

The U.S. Army has awarded contracts for the Thermal Weapon Sight II (TWS) Bridge, which is the largest uncooled program to date.

Qioptiq Thermal Weapon Sights Now Shipping to Australia

Qioptiq is now in the process of shipping 450 VIPIR-2 thermal weapon sights to the Australian Army. The sights will be used in Australia’s future soldier system, called the LAND125 Soldier Enhancement Programme.

New Border Sensors Fired Up

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s SBInet sensor network on the Mexican border went into operation along a 28 mile stretch southwest of Tucson. The first section of the “virtual fence” consists of nine 98 foot towers with visible and infrared cameras that send images to a command center and to specially equipped Border Patrol vehicles.

Israeli Military Delegation Visits India

On the Lookout for More Infrared Business

June 2007

DRS Splits-Out Former Nytech Unit

DRS Technologies has split-out its former Nytech unit which was acquired in 2002. The new company, called N2 Imaging Systems, will continue to operate out of its original Irvine, California offices.

May 2007

Canada Plans TWS Buy

The Government of Canada is seeking information (price and availability) for the purchase of approximately 1000 Thermal Weapon Sights for the Canadian Army. The sights must be Military Off-the Shelf (MOTS) items.

Judson Enters FPA Market

Judson Technologies LLC, which has traditionally focused on single-element and linear array infrared detectors, is entering the infrared FPA and camera market.

April 2007

L-3 IR Products’ New Strategy on Auto Night Vision

L-3 Infrared Products is taking aim at the military driver’s vision enhancement (DVE) market with a new system intended to be used on tactical wheeled vehicles. The Diver’s Vision System (DVS) makes use of the company’s uncooled BST FPAs which are also used in its commercial automotive night vision system.

Zeiss Acquiring Denel Optronics

Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH is acquiring a 70% interest in Denel Optronics, which is owned by the state-owned defense group Denel Pty. Ltd. and is currently undergoing partial privatization. The German company and Denel Optronics have collaborated closely on technology for a number of years.

LumaSense Buying Mikron

Mikron Infrared is being acquired by LumaSense Technologies, Inc. for approximately $65 million.

OASYS Head Mounted Display for TWS

OASYS Technology has received an order for 2300 Head Mounted Displays (HMD) from the U.S. Army RDECOM for use with the U.S. Thermal Weapon Sight.

March 2007

U.S. Defense Budget

A big increase (but not for all infrared programs)

New DARPA IR Programs

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to start a number of infrared programs in fiscal 2008 (starting October 1st).

SPIE’s Infrared Technologies and Applications Conference

SPIE’s Infrared Technology and Applications XXXIII Conference – a part of SPIE’s DSS - Defense & Security Symposium - will feature the latest developments in IR technology and sensor systems. The five day conference will be held from April 9 to April 13 at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Esterline Corp. to Buy CMC Electronics

Esterline Corp. has agreed to buy CMC Electronics for $335 million. CMC Electronics (formerly Canadian Marconi Canada) is a leading supplier of avionics systems including both cooled and uncooled infrared Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) for pilots.

February 2007

Digital ENVG One Step Closer

The plan to replace the current helmet-mounted night vision goggles (NVG) with a digital Enhanced Night Vision Goggles [ENVG(D)] is moving closer to realization. Although numerous technical hurdles must still be surmounted, the U.S. Army has now laid out a schedule for bringing ENVG(D) into production.

Next TWS II Ready to Start

The success of the U.S. Thermal Weapon Sight II program with uncooled VOx microbolometers is leading to a follow-on procurement which is being referred to as “TWS II Bridge.” This program is intended to bridge the gap between TWS II and a future TWS III which is expected to include significant technology improvements.

World Infrared Markets

The combined world commercial and dual-use infrared imaging and spot infrared thermometry market grew at a blistering nearly 20% pace in 2006.

Israel Adopting New Export Control Act

Israel is changing its export control policies and will adhere to the Wassenaar Arrangement’s Control Lists for both Munitions items and for Dual-Use items. According to the Wassenaar agreements, dual-use products go through a licensing procedure that is usually administered by a commerce department or ministry.

Boeing Business Jets to Feature New Uncooled EVS

Rockwell Collins is introducing a new infrared Enhanced Vision System (EVS) - based on a Max-Viz uncooled EVS - for use on Boeing Business Jets. The EVS presents an image on Rockwell Collins’ Head-up Guidance System (HGS®) and head-down displays to enhance pilot situational awareness of terrain and the airport environment in low-visibility situations.

Export Control Hurdles for 2007

Several recent provisions in the Wassenaar List of Dual-Use infrared equipment must be renewed or they will expire at the end of this year. The most important of these refer to the control of uncooled amorphous silicon microbolometers.

January 2007

BMW Gives OK to Next Gen Auto Night Vision

After a thorough evaluation of both passive thermal and active near infrared (NIR) automotive night vision systems, German luxury car maker BMW has decided to stay with thermal imaging (called “FIR” or “Far Infrared” in the automotive industry).

SCD Ramping Up Production of Uncooled VOx Microbolometers

SCD Semi Conductor Devices is ramping up production of its “BIRD” 384 x 288 (25 µm) microbolometers after encountering process issues at the beginning of 2006.

Power Plants a Good Market for Thermal Rifle Sights

Requirements by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for increased security at power plants has provided EMX a ready market for thermal rifle sights.

Cantronic Acquisition of QWIP Systems

The acquisition by Cantronic Systems, Inc. of QWIP Systems (the Canadian parent of QWIPTECH in the U.S.) has been completed. Both companies are publicly traded in Canada.

December 2006

Uncooled with 17 µm Pixels

The U.S. Army’s effort to keep pushing the performance of uncooled sensor technology is again bearing fruit. All four contractors developing ultra-small pixel uncooled microbolometers have demonstrated 640 x 480 focal plane arrays with 17 µm pixels in thermal weapon sights.

Image Fusion 2007

The Image Fusion 2007 conference to be held between January 22 and 24 in Alexandria, Virginia is expected to cover a wide range of topics that are increasingly important for a wide number of applications.

November 2006

FLIR Systems Scaling Up

FLIR Systems has reached an agreement with AMI Semiconductor in which AMIS will be the foundry for the production of FLIR’s uncooled VOx microbolometers. The microbolometers will be produced in AMIS’ Class 1 facility on 8” wafers.

Micro-Sensors Get Really Micro

DARPA is seeking to push uncooled sensor technology to new limits. In the new Micro-Sensors for Imaging (MISI) program, DARPA wants contractors to develop ultra-small sensors for two applications.

CMC Electronics Ships 100th EVS

CMC Electronics has shipped its 100th EVS (Enhanced Vision System) for aircraft. Most of these are the SureSight® I-Series.

Delphi

Delphi is proposing an automotive active night vision system with pedestrian warning that also uses the same camera to carry out several additional vision tasks, including lane departure warning and intelligent headlight control.

October 2006

German Future Soldier System

The new enhanced version of the German future soldier system, IdZ-ES (Infanteristen der Zukunft) is increasing the number of infrared sights to be provided to soldiers. Earlier this year The German MoD’s BWB procurement agency awarded the prime contract for an enhanced version of IdZ to prime contractor Rheinmetall.

Siemens to Acquire VistaScape

Siemens Building Technologies has signed an agreement to acquire VistaScape Security Systems as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Boeing Wins Secure Borders Initiative

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded the first phase of the Secure Border Initiative (SBInet) contract to a team led by Boeing. The program is intended to help secure both America’s southern and northern borders with a network of sensors.

Firefighter Grant Awards Start in October

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s fiscal year 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) awards are expected to start being issued in October. The late start in making the awards under the $540 million FY2006 AFG program has resulted in some hesitation on the part of local fire departments to purchase thermal imagers while they waited for the outcome of the grant awards.

September 2006

Auto Night Vision in Europe

A proposed European Union regulation to enhance pedestrian safety may help to significantly expand the use of automotive infrared night vision systems. The proposed regulation will require a specific active safety system called Brake Assist on all new vehicles starting on July 1, 2008. In addition, new types of equipment, such as collision avoidance, will be recognized as alternatives to Brake Assist.

August 2006

Land Instruments Acquired by Ametek

Land Instruments International Ltd. has been acquired by Ametek, Inc., a diversified manufacturer of industrial instruments and electromechanical devices. Land, with annual sales of £22 million ($41 million) will be part of the process analytical business of Ametek’s Electronic Instruments Group.

FLIR Systems Robot Churning out InfraCAMs

FLIR Systems’ new robot is now up and running at the company’s Danderyd, Sweden facility. The robot is intended to automate the labor intensive and time-consuming testing and calibration of FLIR’s new line of low-cost InfraCAM cameras.

DRS Teaming with Intevac

DRS Technologies is partnering with Intevac to develop a head-mounted digitally fused night vision goggle. The NVG will digitally fuse images from DRS’ uncooled VOx microbolometers with low light level images from Intevac’s EBAPS (Electronically Bombarded Active Pixel Sensor) low-light-level CMOS imager.

July 2006

CEDIP Launches IPO

CEDIP Infrared has launched an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Alternext market of the Euronext Exchange. The company’s existing 2,500,000 shares of stock have been admitted on Alternext. In addition, a maximum of 712,500 new shares have been issued and admitted to the exchange.

BAE Systems Wins DAS Contract

BAE Systems E&IS Sensor Systems has been awarded a $6.1 million 21-month contract to develop a DAS (Distributed Aperture System) for U.S. Army combat vehicles. The system is intended to provide the driver and crew members of armored vehicles with unprecedented situational awareness.

Thales Seeks to Expand Optronics in U.S.

Thales is seeking to expand its presence in optronics in the U.S.

June 2006

Qioptiq is New Name for Former Thales HTO

Qioptiq is the new name for the former Thales High Tech Optics (HTO) business that was acquired by Candover Investments late last year. The new company has operations in the UK, US, Singapore, Germany and Hungary.

May 2006

FLIR Reorganizes Imaging Business

FLIR Systems has re-organized its Imaging business into two separate Divisions: a commercial imaging division and a government imaging division. The company also plans to invest $15 million to significantly increase the capacity of its uncooled VOx microbolometer production facility in Santa Barbara.

Raytheon Launches New Security System for Airports and Other Infrastructure

Raytheon’s Airspace Management and Homeland Security business is launching an Integrated Airport Security System (IASS) that makes it easier for airports to ensure the safety of passengers from their arrival at the airport to departure in the aircraft. .

BAE Systems IRIS Gets Qualified for TWS

The Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS) made by BAE Systems IR Imaging Systems have completed qualification testing by the U.S. Army.

April 2006

DARPA HOT Program

DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office has awarded four 3-year contracts for the development of near room temperature (or “HOT - High Operating Temperature”) mid-wave infrared focal plane arrays. The FPAs are intended for future use in ground-based threat warning systems.

Nippon Avionics Acquiring NEC San-ei Instruments

Nippon Avionics is acquiring NEC San-ei Instruments. After the completion of the transaction on June 30, 2006, NEC San-ei will be a 100% subsidiary of Nippon Avionics.

Standards for Infrared in Firefighting

The use of infrared cameras by firefighters has been growing at double digit rates. In fact, the rate at which new technologies are being incorporated into these cameras may affect firefighter safety.

SCD Improves VOx Microbolometers

SCD Semi Conductor Devices has improved its “BIRD” 384 x 288 VOx (25 µm pitch) microbolometers.

SBInet Holds Out Hope for Infrared Strategic Border Initiative

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Strategic Border Initiative program (SBInet) is shaping up to be a boon for infrared technology. SBInet has two major themes: controlling the border and immigration enforcement.

Avio Develops IR Helmet Goggle for Firefighters

Nippon Avionics has developed an integral helmet-mounted uncooled infrared imager for firefighters.

March 2006

New Infrared Cameras Push the Boundaries at the Low End

The introduction of infrared cameras at aggressive low price points are pushing infrared imaging into new markets and applications. Three manufacturers have recently introduced such cameras, two of them after extensive test marketing during 2005.

NEC Enters VOx Merchant Market with Mid and Large Format FPAs

NEC is entering the merchant market with two VOx microbolometers having 320 x 240 and 640 x 480 formats. The two microbolometers have the smallest pixel sizes (23.5 µm) currently available for either the commercial or military markets.

World Infrared Markets

The combined world commercial and dual-use infrared imaging and spot infrared thermometry market is growing rapidly. Uncooled infrared focal plane array technology used in a broad range of applications continues to be the major driving factor.

Opgal Partnering with WinSoft to Penetrate the U.S. Market

Opgal is partnering with WinSoft on infrared systems. Opgal cameras will be available with the WinSoft ThermaVu software development kit for image analysis, camera control and thermal analysis.

SPIE’s Infrared Technology and Applications Conference

SPIE’s Infrared Technology and Applications XXXII Conference – a part of SPIE’s DSS - Defense & Security Symposium - will feature the latest developments in IR technology and sensor systems. The five day conference will be held from April 17 to April 21 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.

February 2006

Irvine Sensors in FFW Contract

Irvine Sensors has been awarded a contract by Rockwell Collins Optronics for the miniature thermal imagers for the Future Force Warrior (FFW) head-mounted sensor. The Irvine Sensors cameras are based on the company’s tiny CamNoir which makes use of an IC stacking technique (“Neo-Stack) for producing highly compact electronics packages.

Prelude to TWS III

Although the U.S. Army’s TWS II program using high performance 25 µm pixel uncooled VOx microbolometers (640 x 480 and 320 x 240) is just getting started, the next-generation, with 17 µm pixels is already getting underway. Under a program funded by PEO Soldier and with the technical monitoring of the Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate, four companies have been selected to develop 640 x 480 microbolometers with 17 µm pixels and deliver two Thermal Weapon Sights and two thermal imaging modules.

CardioOptics Receives $26.5 Million Investment

A New Market for SWIR Cameras

January 2006

ULIS Large FPA Goes into Production

ULIS has moved it’s large format (640 x 480 with 25 µm pixels) amorphous silicon uncooled microbolometers into production. The chip is based on a single-level microbridge, thus avoiding the complexity and expense of dual-level designs.

Uncooled B-kit in Phase II

The U.S. Army’s effort to develop standard interchangeable imaging modules based on uncooled VOx microbolometers went into Phase II with the awarding of contracts to BAE Systems Infrared Imaging Systems, DRS Infrared Technologies and Raytheon Vision Systems in September 2005. Under Phase II of the Uncooled B-Kit (UBK) program, the emphasis is on 640 x 480 pixel imaging modules.

First Infrared Special Comprehensive License

The first “Special Comprehensive License” (SCL) for exporting thermal imaging cameras has been granted by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The four-year license is for shipments of predictive maintenance cameras based on 160 x 120 pixel uncooled microbolometers to European Union countries.

Thales Sells High Technology Optics Business

Thales has completed the sale of its High Technology Optics (HTO) units in the UK, Singapore, Germany and Hungary for 220 million euros (in cash) to Candover Investments.

The HTO units design and manufacture high precision optical modules and components mainly for military applications, but also for commercial uses.

Extreme CCTV and Obzerv Cancel Second Investment

Extreme CCTV has declined to make a second investment of $3 million in Obzerv Technologies Ltd. However, the two companies continue to work together to develop a new high-end security camera, LX300, based on Obzerv’s range-gated laser camera.