Active pixel sensor gives night vision to Apache pilots

Intevac Photonics, a subsidiary of Intevac (Santa Clara, CA, USA), has received a $10m contract to develop a camera for the US Army’s Apache Helicopter.

Active pixel sensor gives night vision to Apache pilots
Active pixel sensor gives night vision to Apache pilots

Intevac Photonics, a subsidiary of Intevac (Santa Clara, CA, USA), has received a $10m contract to develop a camera for the US Army’s Apache Helicopter.

The fixed price contract covers the transition of Intevac’s extreme low light digital camera from a prototype phase to an initial production phase, and includes the initial delivery of the cameras for use in the Apache Pilot Night Vision System (PNVS).

Mounted above the target acquisition and designation sights, the PNVS camera is slaved to the head movements of the pilot.

The camera will be based on Intevac’s patented Electron Bombarded Active Pixel Sensor (EBAPS) design. EBAPS technology is based on a III-V semiconductor photocathode in proximity-focus with a backside-thinned, CMOS chip anode.

The electrons emitted by the photocathode are directly injected in the electron bombarded mode into the CMOS anode, where the electrons are collected, amplified and read-out to produce digital video directly out of the sensor.

The award represents the first major production deal for Intevac’s digital camera on AH-64 Apache helicopters.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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