For more than 10 years now, uncooled sensors have given new opportunities in the IR field of
applications by being able to be produce in large volume. Compared to cooled technology, uncooled
detectors offer many interesting advantages: high reliability, lower cost ... whereas the performance
is high enough for a lot of applications. Thermography, building inspection, enhanced driver vision
and military (thermal weapon sight, low altitude UAV sensor) are applications which can be
provided with affordable IR focal plane arrays...
As uncooled IR sensors are mainly dedicated to these high volume applications, any uncooled
IRFPA technology has to be able to provide high performance sensors but also to be producible in
large volume at a minimum cost.
The high level of accumulated expertise by ULIS and CEA/LETI on uncooled microbolometers
made from amorphous silicon layer enables ULIS to develop a full range of IRFPA formats from
160x120 to 1024x768 pixels with 25μm and 17μm pixel-pitch, designed for high end and high
The detector ROIC designs rely on a simple architecture (detector configuration addressed by a
serial link for user defined amplifier gain, windowing capability...) which enables easier systems
upgrade and therefore a reduced system development non recurrent cost.
The packaging technique depends on the application environment and the production volume in
order to fit with the market expectation. Starting from metallic and ceramics package, very
advanced new technique is under development in order to reduce uncooled IRFPA production cost.
NETD in the range of 30mK (f/1, 300K, 60Hz) as well as operability higher than 99.99%, are
routinely achieved with amorphous silicon technology.