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7 October 2014 Pupil imaging with a high sensitivity, LWIR focal plane array
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We describe an integrated sensor assembly serving as both a component technology demonstration and a potential means of detecting distant point sources of infrared radiation. The objective of the demonstration was to show that usefully long integration times could be achieved with a low-background and well capacity, LWIR focal plane array optimized for use with cooled optics in space. The system controls extraneous background radiation with a small (150 μm) cooled pinhole that nevertheless transmits all the radiation of a point source collected by the fore-optic. Broad waveband response (~3 to 12 μm) results from optimization of the fore-optic for both MW and LWIR, as well as from a broadband anti-reflection coating on the field lens that is used at the pinhole to reimage the entrance aperture and its surrounding cold stop. Integration times in excess of 10 msec have been achieved for room temperature backgrounds with the FPA cold stage operated at 50 Kelvin, and noise performance has been bracketed with single frames of data collected over several integration times and over several minutes duration. However, anomalous signal behavior has been observed as the temperature of a remote blackbody increases. Although operation to date has been with a lower operability, engineering grade FPA, plans are to eventually upgrade to a higher quality device.
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Paul D. LeVan, John E. Hubbs, and Quinn T. Pratt "Pupil imaging with a high sensitivity, LWIR focal plane array", Proc. SPIE 9220, Infrared Sensors, Devices, and Applications IV, 92200S (7 October 2014);

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