micro-bolometers in the dark

From: scerir (scerir@libero.it)
Date: Tue Mar 06 2001 - 03:14:05 MST


Bolide [fireball, meteor], is the name given (april 2000) to a prototype
of infrared binoculars using a detector developed at the infra-red
Laboratoire d'Electronique, de Technologie et d'Instrumentation
of the CEA in Grenoble (F), within the program pursued by the
General Directorate of Weapons and the Sagem and the Sofra
companies.

There are already infrared high performance binoculars for night vision.
These instruments, however, have the disadvantage of using detectors
which are cooled at approximately minus 160C. Researchers replaced
the old cooled detectors with micro-bolometers which operate
_at the ambient temperature_.

The micro-bolometers operate in two stages.They absorb the incident
infrared radiant energy and they convert it into temperature. Then a
thermo-device converts the temperature variations into electrical
signals and these signals are processed by an integrated circuit.

Each detector consists of a matrix of approximately 76,800
micro-bolometers, each measuring less than 50 micrometers.
Each microbolometer is associated with an individual pixel for the
final imaging.

Though the Bolide is less efficient than the existing equipment
(in terms of range) it is much lighter and less expensive.



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