The business field IR Imagers offers the complete spectrum of services from the development up to pilot fabrication of customer-specific IR image sensors for applications in the wavelength range of 3 µm to 5 µm or 8 µm to 14 µm (“thermal radiation”). The IR imagers, also called “infrared focal plane arrays” (short: IRFPA), are one- or two-dimensional set-ups of IR-sensitive pixels in medium to long-wave infrared ranges. They are also called far-infrared sensors or far-infrared image receptors. The IR imagers are based on the in-house developed microbolometer technology with integrated CMOS readout circuits and miniaturized vacuum housings (chip scale package, CSP).
Customers for this business field of Fraunhofer IMS come, for example, from the sector of thermography, in which the surface temperature of objects is determined contactless by infrared radiation emitted from the objects. Imaging thermography is particularly used in property inspection. Thermal imaging cameras are used for documentation of the energy efficiency of the building to detect weaknesses in the insulation. Furthermore, inspections of facilities can be conducted using imaging thermography. In the field of security IR imagers are used to be able to detect unauthorized access of property or critical infrastructure facilities from large distances. IR imagers are needed for reliable monitoring of the surroundings for autonomous vehicles, especially in poor visibility conditions, for night vision and pedestrian detection. In the industrial sector they are important for personal protection, for example in “people counting” and “queue management”.
In measurement technology IR imagers are of grater immediate interest for gas analytics or process monitoring. More application areas of IR imagers are in medicine, agriculture, and in support of firefighting operations. Goal of the diverse developments at Fraunhofer IMS is to enter new markets with innovative and cost-effective IR imagers. This includes the easy use of IR imagers without cooling (TEC-less and shutter-less), compact vacuum housing and application of digital standard interfaces for video data and configuration. Customer-specific scaled IR imagers offer an optimized solutions adapted to the application.