Infrared sensor designers eye multispectral imaging, miniaturization, and improved image resolution

By John Keller

Designers of infrared sensors for aerospace and defense applications are concentrating their research efforts on blending IR sensors with electro-optical sensors for multispectral sensing and imaging, improving the resolution of IR sensors to match those of visible-light sensors, blending IR sensors with laser range finders, and shrinking the size of IR sensor packages for unmanned vehicles and other miniature applications.

"It boils down to multispectral imaging," says Dave Strong, vice president of marketing at the FLIR Systems Government Systems Division in Wilsonville, Ore. IR sensor designers are trying to blend the most useful aspects of shortwave infrared (SWIR), midwave infrared (MWIR), and longwave infrared (LWIR) to improve surveillance, reconnaissance, and detection capability.

The idea is to take advantage of the strengths of different IR sensors, Strong says. SWIR sensors, for example, can detect dirt that has been recently turned over, can differentiate between natural foliage and camouflage, can see through glass windows, and has sufficient resolution and detail to recognize human faces.

MWIR and LWIR sensors, meanwhile, can see in total darkness, while SWIR sensors cannot. "If you have these technologies at your fingertips, you can do multispectral imaging," Strong says. "When you compare SWIR to the MWIR and LWIR bandwidth, you can highlight things that weren't apparent before."

Using data-fusion software algorithms to blend outputs from different IR sensors "is a multiplier in capability, and is bigger than the sum of its parts," explains John Antoniades, director of the ISR Exploitation Technologies Group at the BAE Systems Technology Solutions business unit in Columbia, Md.

Antoniades heads up a team that has developed the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Imaging System (ARGUS-IS), which will provide the persistent-surveillance payload for the A160T Hummingbird unmanned helicopter.

Although the ARGUS-IS system is a visible-light sensor system, designers and potential military users are figuring out how to blend the ARGUS-IS sensor data with outputs from infrared sensors, such as the future Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Infrared (ARGUS-IR) system for 24-hour persistent surveillance capability.

The ARGUS-IS, ARGUS-IR, and A160T unmanned aerial vehicle programs are under supervision of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va.

"A lot of work will have to go into the IR focal planes, which lag in the number of pixels they have, compared to the daytime electro-optical sensors," Antoniades says. The pixels in today's IR focal plane array sensors are also much larger than the electro-optical sensors. There is really a lot of infrared research going into shrinking the pixel size, and putting more pixels on the sensors, to fill the gap between the IR and EO sensors."

In other IR sensor trends, developers are looking into blending IR sensors and laser target designators in very small packages "to make every sensor a shooter," Strong says. Following similar trends, developers are also trying to shrink the sizes of IR sensors to fit them on small unmanned vehicles.

Finally, IR sensor designers are looking to improve the resolution of detectors to follow trends in high-definition imaging to improve quality and enable IR images to be shown on a growing number of displays.

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPedite7501 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled XMC Module

The XPedite7501 is a high-performance, low-power, XMC module based on the 5th generation Intel® C...

XPedite7530 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U CompactPCI Module

The XPedite7530 is a high-performance 3U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugge...

XPedite7570 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7570 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XPedite7572 | 5th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module with SecureCOTS™

The XPedite7572 is a secure and high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

XCalibur4500 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Module

The XCalibur4500 is a high-performance 6U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugg...

XCalibur4501 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Module

The XCalibur4501 is a high-performance 6U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugg...

XCalibur4540 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur4540 is a high-performance, 6U OpenVPX™, multiprocessing, single board computer that ...

Medusa VPX3424

The AcQ Inducom “Medusa”VPX3424 is a 3U OpenVPX™ Single Board Computer (SBC) featuring the T4240 ...

XPedite7470 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI SBC

The XPedite7470 is a high-performance, low-power, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

XPedite7472 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI SBC with SecureCOTS™

The XPedite7472 is a secure and high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

Related Companies

AcQ Inducom

Develops and produces non-certified and certified high-tech modular hardware- and software solutions for on-board and...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Advanced Conversion Technology Inc

ACT designs and manufactures, since 1981, an extensive range of AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies (switching, linear, ra...

JuiceBox Energy Inc

JuiceBox Energy develops, engineers and manufactures advanced energy storage systems for residential, government and ...

Electronic Development Labs Inc (EDL)

Since 1943, EDL has strived to provide quality products, outstanding customer service, and superior technical support...

PTC

PTC (Nasdaq: PTC) delivers technology solutions that transform the way companies create, operate and service their pr...

Powell Electronics

An authorized electronic component distributor and experts of military connectors, switches, sensors and relays. Trac...

Eureka Dry Tech

High reliability electronic components utilized in aerospace and defense, requires strict moisture controlled storage...

Germane Systems

Germane Systems designs and manufactures COTS-based rugged high performance computers, servers, and storage systems f...

Sensoray Co Inc

Specializing in the development of custom OEM embedded electronics for industrial, aerospace, defense, medical and se...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE