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Imaging/Detectors: Infrared Imaging

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2000
Volume manufacturing of uncooled IR focal plane arrays is dropping prices and widening the scope of applications.

Bill Lankford, Raytheon Systems Co.

Thirty years ago, the cost and complexity of thermal imaging made the technology feasible only for high-end defense and science applications. As we enter 2000 and look toward 2005 and beyond, infrared imaging will touch all corners of our lives, from systems that permit drivers to see roadway obstacles clearly at night to thermal cameras that allow firefighters to find people quickly in thick smoke.

The uncooled focal plane array is a key to the broad commercialization of IR imaging. Significantly less expensive than cooled focal plane arrays, uncooled technology maintains the high performance that thermal imaging systems require. High-volume production capacity further slashes the cost of uncooled focal plane arrays, enabling still more applications.

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