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  • HgCdTe Imaging Array Breaks Record
Dec 2010
GRENOBLE, France, Dec. 23, 2010 — CEA-Leti has announced the first infrared imaging array in the 8- to 10-µm band capable of returning an image with a record-breaking thermal resolution of 1 to 2 mK at ambient temperature and with traditional image rates of 25 to 50 Hz.

Leti also created an infrared detection array by linking an innovative reading circuit, manufactured using CMOS-silicon technology, to an array of HgCdTe infrared detectors.

Designed for defense and security applications, the HgCdTe array has a format of 320 × 256 and a pitch of 25 μm. The array achieved ultimate sensitivity of close to 0.001 K at an operating temperature of 77 K. It represents a 10 to 20× increase in sensitivity compared with what is normally possible under the same observation conditions with conventional components.

To obtain this extremely high sensitivity, CEA-Leti designed and produced a special silicon reading circuit with a 0.18-μm CMOS die, involving an analog-to-digital conversion at each elementary detection point with a pitch of 25 µm.

The analog-to-digital conversion is based on the counting of charge packets given off by the detector. An equivalent stored charge of 3 giga-electrons can be obtained. This reading circuit, which is noise-optimized, makes it possible to achieve a level of sensitivity never before obtained on a component of this class.

CEA-Leti presented these results at the international Defense, Security and Sensing conference in Orlando, Fla., earlier this year, and as part of an invited paper at the international SPIE Defense and Security conference in Toulouse, France.

These results are the fruit of research carried out in a joint Sofradir-CEA (DEFIR) laboratory, with support from CEA, Sofradir, DGA and Onera. Sofradir is producing the HgCdTe infrared detector technology developed by CEA-Leti under exclusive license from CEA.

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In a radiation detector, the ratio of the output to the input signal.
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