Barr Ups Capacity for Night-Vision Optical Filters
Barr Associates Inc., a Westford, Mass., producer of thin-film coatings and optical filters, said it has enhanced its capability to manufacture filters for integration into infrared (IR) cameras used in night-vision technology for commercial and defense markets. For example, a filter that may be used in night-vision technology provides transmission from 8-12 um with blocking capability below that range. Barr said its coatings meet typical military specifications and are ROHS compliant for European markets. In the military, drivers use night-vision technology to navigate through hostile areas in darkness; it also reduces the potential for “friendly fire,” Barr said. "In addition, automotive crashes continue to account for a large number of lives lost each year. A disproportionate percentage of these collisions occur during nighttime driving." IR cameras enable drivers to see in total darkness, smoke, dust, rain and fog. Typical systems for vehicles provide between 250 and 450 ft of moderate illumination, the company said. "A driver traveling at 60 miles per hour would only have about four seconds to react to any obstacle in the road. By contrast, night-vision systems currently available in automobiles today increase the line of sight five times farther than headlight beams, which now gives the driver approximately 15 seconds to react to obstacles." As a result, automotive manufacturers are beginning to offer such systems as an option in newer models. Barr said it also offers solderable metal coatings for hermetic sealing.