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IR NEWS at DSS 2006


ThermoSense XXVIII

April 2006 ---New Infrared Imaging Products

The Annual ThermoSense Conference (The Infrared Applications Conference) is held, usually in April, in Orlando Florida USA. It's a small part of a multi-conference Symposium called the SPIE Defense and Security Symposium, DSS for short.

Since most of the conferences deal with Infrared imaging and measurement, the accompanying Exposition turns out to be one of the largest Infrared Expos in the world. It features everything from apertures to zone plates and quite a bit in between. All the major Infrared Camera, Detector, Test Equipment, military and other security-related organizations are present. The 2006 event, just completed, was the largest Expo to date, with many innovative Infrared devices.

None was more exciting than the RedShift Systems Thermal Light Valve™, TLV. The TLV is a passive optical component that shifts long wavelength thermal infrared radiation to CMOS-visible light, allowing standard CMOS cameras to “see heat”. There was much more, but little as exciting except for..

Commercial Thermal Imaging Cameras with 640 x 480 (or 512) detector element imaging arrays were shown for the first time at the DSS Expo. Many were also described in some detail by company representatives at a special Monday evening ThermoSense Session devoted to previewing the exposition highlights of new vendor products.

The CEDIP Infrared Systems Emerald LR, from France, as well as the new Jenoptik VarioCAM (Germany) and the new Miricle 307K from Thermoteknix Ltd in the UK all featured 640x 480 (or 512) imager array long waveband detectors. That means higher spatial resolution for a given field of view lens and the ability to see a larger field of view at a specified resolution. Ulis (France) and NEC San-ei Instruments, (Japan) showed long wave (8 -14 micron) detector arrays with up to 640 x 480 elements on a 25 um pitch.

New, too, were reported dual imaging, Infrared and Visible waveband cameras with video mixing to enable thermal highlights to be superimposed on an ordinary video image. Both Infrared Solutions and AVIO showed such new devices (Nippon Avionics Co., Ltd., producer of Avio products, recently announced a planned July 2006 merger with NEC San-ei Instruments Ltd).

The RedShift Systems Story: RedShift’s core technology—the Thermal Light ValveTM (TLV)— translates difficult-to-image thermal radiation into light which can be imaged by a standard CMOS camera.

RedShift is concentrating on selling its infrared camera engine to Thermal Imager camera and system makers (Original Equipment Manufacturers or OEMs) and offers as one of its first products the RedShift 1160.

The RedShift 1160 is a long wavelength infrared camera engine designed to allow OEMs to quickly introduce an affordable, high-performance thermal camera into their product lines.

The 1160 Engine is based on RedShift patented Thermal Light Valve™ (TLV) technology. Combined with off-the-shelf CMOS image sensors and using RedShift systems integration expertise, the TLV enables thermal imaging at a fraction of the cost of competing microbolometer, amorphous silicon and ferroelectric sensors. This initial product offers a 160 x 120 imaging array, 30 fps frame rate in the 8-14 Ám (LW) infrared waveband with 150 mK thermal sensitivity.

The TLV chip is based on a class of optical “active thin films” developed and telecom-qualified at Aegis Semiconductor, and currently deployed in major communications networks.

This radical new architecture, which is based on off-the-shelf components, gives RedShift and its OEM customers immediate competitive advantages over existing thermal imaging competition:

  • No technology license
  • Standard silicon materials
  • Fabless chip production
  • Standard CMOS camera electronics
  • Outsourced module assembly

RedShift Systems was formed as a spin-off from Aegis Semiconductor, Inc. Aegis Semiconductor is the leader in tunable optical semiconductors for the communications industry. Based on its Active Thin Films™ technology platform, Aegis is delivering low cost tunable filters components and modules that are reliable and easily manufactured using well-tested methods from the semiconductor industry.

The company is the first in the industry to commercialize tunable thin film filters and has filed more than 20 patents on the Active Thin Films™ technology platform and applications.

The technology programs at DSS were staggering, as usual. ThemoSense alone had some 56 technical presentation and supported several education short courses. However, ThermoSense is but one of four seperate infrared conference, "The Infrared Track", within the overall DSS technical symposium. The entire technical program for ThermoSense XXVIII may be viewed online at www.thermosense.org.

The Andronicos G Award for the outstanding written paper at ThermoSense XXVIII was presented to G. M. Williams and A.M. Barter of Voxtel, Inc. for their paper "Dual-band MWIR/LWIR QUIP ratio radiometer for absolute skin temperature measurements". They presented their paper on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 during the PROCESS I Session at the Conference. Presentation was made by Ms Kathryn M. Knettel, The Conference Co-chair.

The SPIE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was presented to Dr. Kumar Patel on Wednesday evening, April 19, 2006 at the Symposium Banquet by SPIE President Paul McManamon with Symposium Chair John C. Carrano presiding, the citation read:

"During an illustrious career, spanning more than forty years, Dr. Kumar Patel has achieved many great accomplishments, including the invention of the now ubiquitous Carbon Dioxide Laser, and dozens of other patents, impacting virtually every facet of science, technology, and industry.

"As a research scientist, academician, and businessman, Kumar Patel has contributed immeasurably to the field of lasers, optics, and photonics over several decades, earning him the respect and admiration of his colleagues. In recognition of these contributions, and his dedication to excellence, the leadership of SPIE is proud to bestow upon Dr. Kumar Patel this "Lifetime Achievement Award."

P. S. Interested in a product listing or doing a sensor review? Check our vendor directories. They are free and self service at TempSensor.net and reviews are accepted. For the Temperatures.com site, Vendors only, please click here.



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