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



Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

SBC-K7 Embedded PC for Instrumentation and Control

The SBC-K7 is an ideal platform for embedded instrumentation that combines an Atom PC running Win...

Rugged Mobile Communications Server

Advanced communications server designed to be deployed in environments where it needs to meet cer...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

CCXR-17 Slideways Side Access Rackmount LCD Keyboard

The CCXR-17 is a unique Side Access space-efficient military-grade high-performance 1U rackmount ...

P317xx Portable Computer System w/ Three 17" LCDs

The P317xx portable " lunchbox" system is unique in offering three 17" 1280x1024 resolution LCD d...

M1U20xx 1U Military-Grade Computer System

The M1U20xx Military-Grade Rack Mount System is a reliable high-performance mil-spec 1U solution ...

M4U20xx 4U Rackmount Military-Grade Computer

A 4U rugged military-grade computer offering the latest long-availability high-performance mother...

TFX-19 Trifold Rackmount LCD

The TFX1-19 is a rugged military grade high performance 2U rackmount LCD panel display offering t...

Sensors Unlimited GA1280JSX High Resolution, Mil-Rugged, Extended High Sensitivity InGaAs SWIR Camera

Manufactures a high resolution, mil-rugged, extended high-sensitivity 0.9 Mpixel InGaAs SWIR came...

High Temperature Resistant Linear Position Sensors Perform in Military and Defense Applications with High Accuracy

Macro Sensors has designed a series of high temperature and rugged LVDT linear position sensors t...

Related Companies

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

Elma Electronic Inc

Who we are...   About Elma Electronic Systems   The Systems division of Elma Electronic Inc. supplies the

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)

American Infrared Solutions

GE Intelligent Platforms

GE Intelligent Platforms is a leading global provider of embedded computing systems and modules for a wide range of a...

Trenton Systems Inc

Designs and manufactures rugged rackmount computers and MIL-STD-810 systems using both standard COTS as well as custo...

Raycom Electronics

Raycom Electronics, Inc., a subsidiary of Electro Technik Industries (ETI), was incorporated in 1965.  The compa...

Intersil Corp

Intersil is leveraging a deep portfolio of intellectual property, a history of design and process innovation and a sy...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

One Component, Snap Cure Epoxy Features High Strength Properties

Suitable for a variety of applications in the electronic, aerospace and OEM industries, Master Bond EP3SP5F...

One Part Epoxy Resists up to 500°F and Meets NASA Low Outgassing Specifications

Master Bond Supreme 12AOHT-LO is a one component epoxy for a variety of bonding and sealing applications in...

Low Viscosity, One Part Cyanoacrylate Is Non-Toxic and Meets ISO 10993-5 Specifications

Master Bond MB250NT is widely used for a variety of applications ranging from repair to high speed producti...

Thermally Conductive, Two Component Epoxy Passes USP Class VI Tests and ISO 10993-5 Specifications

With biocompatibility and cytotoxicity certifications, Master Bond EP21AOLV-2Med is often selected for bond...

CURTISS-WRIGHT CONGRATULATES NORTHROP GRUMMAN ON SUCCESSFUL FIRST FLIGHT OF SECOND MQ-4C TRITON UAS

Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Defense Solutions division applauds Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) o...

Curtiss-Wright’s New Rugged Mobile IP Router Subsystem Features an Integrated Cisco® 5915 ESR Router

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division, a Cisco® Systems Solution T...

VICTORY Shared Processing, Fire Control Computer, and Switch for Ground Vehicles Introduced by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced a new fully i...

GE Announces First Sub-Credit Card-Sized Multi-Function High Definition (HD) Video Tracker

HUNTSVILLE, AL.— OCTOBER 13, 2014—GE’s Intelligent Platforms business today announced at AUSA (October 13-...

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

April 2015
Volume 26, Issue 4
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