DECEMBER 8--Sensors Unlimited Inc. (Princeton, NJ; www.sensorsinc.com), a provider of innovative short-wavelength infrared imaging products based on indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) technology, has received a follow-on, Phase 1b contract from the US Air Force for a 12-month, $2 million program to develop the industry's first high-frame-rate camera for combined imaging and ranging, using an in-pixel digitized, monolithic PIN/APD focal-plane array (FPA). The Department of Defense (DOD) Missile Defense Agency is providing the funding under a contract managed by the Air Force. Sensors Unlimited was the only vendor to address both imaging and ranging within a single, high-performing FPA and camera.
"Sensors Unlimited's camera will significantly advance the state of the art in infrared imaging and will exceed the military's stringent requirements," notes Matthew O'Grady, principal engineer, imaging products at Sensors Unlimited. "In Phase 1a we demonstrated our patented APD/PIN detector array, made possible by our epitaxial growth facility, and also proved the feasibility of our advanced digital pixel output circuit design. Over the next year we will develop and deliver a single camera capable of high resolution 3-D imaging, wavefront sensing, and low-light-level imaging based on this unique technology."
Sensors Unlimited's camera consists of a 256 x 256-pixel array capable of both flash LADAR reception and photosignal integration and has frame rates as high as 15,000 frames per second for a 128 x 128-pixel window, which enables the military to track objects at high speeds. Commercial applications of the technology include collision avoidance and automatic surveying. The FPA includes a custom integrated circuit, based on a new digital output pixel design, which will enable unique performance and features for the signal measurement and readout functions.
If fully executed through Phase 3 of the program, the Sensors Unlimited contract will total $3.7 million and will culminate in the delivery of two advanced cameras to the Air Force.