DARPA funds improved night vision system

PRINCETON, N.J., 29 Sept. 2005. Sensors Unlimited, Inc. has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) to develop an unprecedented 1280 x 1024 pixel, dual-wavelength, visible and shortwave infrared focal plane array (FPA).

Sep 29th, 2005

PRINCETON, N.J., 29 Sept. 2005. Sensors Unlimited, Inc. has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) to develop an unprecedented 1280 x 1024 pixel, dual-wavelength, visible and shortwave infrared focal plane array (FPA).

The uncooled, InGaAs focal plane array will enable very high-resolution, passive night vision imaging with sensitivity to wavelengths from 0.4 to 1.7 microns, using pixels on a 15 micron pitch.

The contract will be awarded in three, 12-month phases and if fully executed, will total $4.6 million.

The development of this FPA will result in breakthrough advances in focal plane array performance. The new FPA will have less than 10 electrons readout noise while operating at video rates. In addition, new developments in detector growth, design, and fabrication will enable dark current densities of less than 2 nA / cm² from the InGaAs photodiode array at room temperature allowing the read noise to be the limiting noise factor for video rate imaging. The focal plane array combined with Sensors Unlimited's expertise in low-noise and dual-wavelength detector design will enable SUI to reach DARPA's goal of identifying a human target at 100 meters under no-moon conditions.

The president and CEO of Sensors Unlimited, Marshall J. Cohen, notes, "This contract will enhance our current research and further our InGaAs development of high resolution, low noise, dual-wavelength focal plane arrays. We welcome the opportunity to work once again with DARPA and its innovative MTO group to advance our InGaAs imaging technology to the next level in FPA performance."

DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office is committed to pioneering breakthroughs in materials, devices, circuits and mathematics to develop beyond leading edge components with revolutionary performance and functionality, enabling new platform capability for the Department of Defense.

Sensors Unlimited, Inc. (SUI), founded in 1991 to pioneer design and production of near-infrared detectors, is the world leader in indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) imaging technology. With in-house capabilities, Sensors Unlimited manufactures advanced infrared cameras, shortwave-IR and near-IR focal plane arrays and revolutionary high speed PIN and avalanche photodiodes.

Their proprietary foundry and expertise delivers reliable, high performance products for a variety of critical military, security, industrial, commercial and telecommunications industries. Applications include covert surveillance, machine vision, night vision, health and safety protocols, historical art inspection and more. For more information, see www.sensorsinc.com.

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