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Uncooled infrared sensors based on microbolometers

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From the development to pilot production — the business unit IR Imagers is offering customer-specific infrared sensors for applications in a wavelength range from 8 µm to 14 µm. The infrared sensors, which are also known as “infrared focal plane arrays” (or short: IRFPA), are one- or two-dimensional arrangements of IR-sensitive pixels in the mid- and longwave infrared range. They are also called far infrared sensors or far infrared image sensors. The infrared sensors are based on in-house developed microbolometer technology with integrated CMOS readout circuits and miniature vacuum housing (Chip Scale Package, CSP).

Customers for this business unit of IMS come from e. g. the area of thermography, in which the surface temperature can be determined contactless, using the emitting infrared radiation of the object. In the area of home and property security, infrared sensors are used to detect unauthorized entry to property or infrastructure facilities without active lighting. For autonomous vehicles the use of uncooled far infrared sensors is needed for reliable monitoring of the surroundings, especially in poor visibility conditions and for pedestrian detection. For the industry infrared sensors are relevant for personal protection, “people counting” or “queue management”. The IR-sensor technology for gas analysis and process monitoring are of particular interest in the area of measurement technology. Further application areas of infrared imaging sensor technology are medicine, the agricultural sector as well as support of firefighting operations.

The goal of the various developments at Fraunhofer IMS is to tap into new markets with innovative and cost-effective far infrared sensors. This includes easy application of the uncooled sensors (TEC-less and shutter-less), compact vacuum housing and the use of digital standard interfaces for video data and configuration. Customer-specific scaled IR imagers offer an optimized solution suited for the respective application.

© Fraunhofer iMS

Digital QVGA infrared sensor

© Fraunhofer IMS

Chip-scale-package for infrared sensors

© Fraunhofer IMS

Evaluation camera