In an effort to stay out of highly competitive commercial markets some microbolometer suppliers are staying out of the mid-format (320 x 240) small pixel (10-12 µm) market.
FLIR Systems, which has long concentrated on its mature InSb FPA technology has been internally developing Type 2 Superlattice (T2SL) FPAs for use in future products.The company, which has been part of the VISTA consortium, is making use of the InAs/GaSb epitaxial structures that have been developed by JPL and NRL under the VISTA program and grown by IntelliEPI and IQE. It is expected that the company will soon introduce a camera core based on a HOT MWIR 640 x 512 FPA with 15 micron pixels.
Sofradir and Ulis are reorganizing in an effort to make their infrared detector businesses more efficient. In order to do so, the new management team will exploit synergies between the cooled Sofradir operations and the uncooled microbolometer operations of Ulis.
Twelve departments are being set up, among them two new ones: Technology & Strategy and Projects & Programs. All of the departments will be common to both the cooled Sofradir and uncooled Ulis businesses. Previously, the Sofradir and Ulis operations had separate groups handling these functions.
ENVG-B (Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – B), an enhanced version of ENVG III, will work together with the Family of Weapon Sights – Individual (FWS-I) or can be used independently. It will replace ENVG-III.
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have signed a contract under which Raytheon will provide the next-generation EO-DAS (Electro-optical-Distributed Aperture System) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The new system will make use of very large format, small pixel MWIR nBn FPAs developed by Raytheon Vision Systems (Goleta, California).
Copious Imaging (Lexington, Massachusetts), a spin-off of MIT Lincoln Labs, intends to transform infrared Read-out Integrated Circuits (ROICs) by not only placing a small low-power analog-to-digital converter at each pixel to form a DROIC (Digital-pixel ROIC) but also provide each pixel with computational capability to produce "Computational Pixel Imagers."
ENVG-B, a binocular version of the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle, is moving rapidly into Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD).
ENVG-B will be similar to ENVG III, fusing images from an image intensifier with those from a microbolometer. However, ENVG-B will have the option to be used as either a fused monocular or as a binocular (ENVG III is monocular only).
A breakthrough in the more widespread use of Type 2 Superlattice (T2SL) FPAs is about to occur. One of the largest infrared applications in the U.S. - the EO-DAS (Electro-optical-Distributed Aperture System) for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - is being upgraded to T2SL FPAs (from the existing large format InSb FPAs).The Air Force anticipates two potential upgrades.
L3 Technologies is making changes to its uncooled amorphous silicon (a-SI) microbolometer business. The company’s L3 Sensor Technologies (formerly L3 Infrared Products in Garland, Texas) is moving its front-end production of FPAs to TSI Semiconductors (Roseville, California), while vacuum Wafer-Level-Packaging (WLP) is being moved to Mason, Ohio. By the end of the year, the Garland facility is expected to be shut down, with only design engineering remaining in the Dallas, Texas area.
Improves Performance of both 12 and 17 micron FPAs