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31 May 2012 State-of-the-art MCT IR-modules with enhanced long term and cycle stability
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Current trends on the enhancement of MCT FPA IR-modules are reduction of size, weight and power (SWaP), increase of resolution with large detector arrays, provision of staring LWIR or dual-band capability. This is achieved by reduction of pixel size, higher operating temperatures (HOT) or complex pixel structures together with the optimization of dewars, adapted cooling engines and proximity electronics. To meet these demands AIM is working on MCT single-band MWIR or LWIR modules with formats 640x512 or 1280x1024 in 15μm pitch and a dual-band MWIR/LWIR module 640x512 in 20μm pitch. As a first step high operating temperatures for MWIR 120K and LWIR 80K were demonstrated, development for MWIR >= 150K and LWIR >= 90K is ongoing. The modules are realized as integrated detector cooler assemblies (IDCA) with proximity electronics. The 640x512/15μm pitch modules are already available in application specific configurations e.g. having integral rotary or split linear cooling engines. Besides implementation of the above mentioned capabilities also improvement in long term and cycle stability of IRmodules has been achieved which is important to fully benefit from increased mission times and longer maintenance periods by HOT. Especially staring MCT LWIR modules so far required sophisticated non-uniformity correction (NUC) processing to provide acceptable long term image quality while former scanning systems usually used implemented temperature references for NUC update. For a thermal imager setup with the LWIR 640x512/15μm module two-point correction with factory calibrated gain coefficients together with a new offset calibration after every cool down cycle is used. The paper will present the results of AIM's current staring single-band MCT IR-modules in MWIR or LWIR configuration especially regarding to their long term and cycle stability.
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R. Breiter, J. Wendler, H. Lutz, S. Rutzinger, T. Schallenberg, J. Ziegler, and I. Rühlich "State-of-the-art MCT IR-modules with enhanced long term and cycle stability", Proc. SPIE 8353, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXVIII, 83532L (31 May 2012);

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