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.
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.
More than a dozen companies are pursuing novel uncooled technologies in an effort to compete with the predominant uncooled VOx and amorphous silicon microbolometer technologies. Recently, two companies have demonstrated progress in narrowing the gap with the incumbent uncooled technologies.
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.