Sensors Unlimited recently announced a new US Air Force (USAF) contract to research and design a communication device that can be added to their Visible-InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide) MiniCamera currently in use with the US Department of Defense.
The R&D contract will build upon this dual spectrum InGaAs technology that allows simultaneous imaging in two wavebands, visible and short-wave infrared (SWIR). The high resolution focal plane array (FPA) images using light from 400nm to 1700nm without distinguishing between the various wavelengths, producing a single, combined visible/SWIR infrared image.
The uncooled Visible-InGaAs MiniCamera has no moving parts and is thermoelectrically temperature stabilised, so it is lightweight, compact and suited for helmet-mounted applications like imaging and communications.
The US Air Force has awarded the new contract to develop an improved solid state, dual spectrum imager that doubles as a communication device.
Three objectives under this R&D contract will be to improve sensitivity in the visible waveband; to enable the camera to also function as a 1GHz communication link by using a single pixel in the camera’s detector array; and to reduce pixel pitch from the camera’s current 40µm pitch down to 15µm. Although the contract parameters required a 25 x 25 pixel array,
Sensors Unlimited, a manufacturer of short-wave infrared cameras, will deliver a much higher resolution128 x128 pixel FPA and the camera electronics to run the enhanced array. These improvements will expand current night vision technology to foster a multi-function dual-wavelength video camera/communication tool.