The objective of this project is to produce a low cost, mid-performance infrared imager aimed at large volume commercial markets e.g. preventative maintenance, emergency services and energy efficiency. The camera will be based on a novel resistive bolometer technology that will be integrated on a foundry CMOS process.
The objective of this project is to rapidly produce an extremely low cost, mid-performance Infrared (IR) imaging camera. The hand-held camera will be sensitive to the 8um ?14um waveband and be capable of resolving temperature differences of 1 Degree Celcius. C in the observed scene. It will be intended for a broad range of commercial and domestic applications including safety (fire detection and collision avoidance), preventative maintenance (hot spot detection in cabling and bearings) and security (intruder alarms, perimeter surveillance). The consortium aims to restrict manufacturing costs to less than or equal to 1000 Euro assuming a volume of 10,000 units per annum, permitting an approximate retail value of between 1500 and 2000 Euro. It is the intention of the consortium to design, test and evaluate a low cost camera intended, from the outset, for the industrial/commercial market.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The stated aims of the AUTHENTIC consortium will be achieved by adopting the following strategy: A new micro-machined, detector array fabrication process, developed at the university fabrication facility of the NMRC, will be transferred to the commercial foundry at Mitel. This process integrates a pixellated array of thermal sensors, known as microbolometers, with its associated read-out electronics on a single CMOS wafer. The fabrication process is 100% 'back-end' compatible and only uses standard foundry materials. This is the key to obtaining a low-cost manufacturing route. The Focal Plane Array (FPA) of microbolometers can then be used to form the thermally sensitive element of an IR imaging camera. The thermal imaging camera system will be specified by the SME, IRIS, who will also undertake the overall project technical co-ordination. The system specification will impose design requirements on the sensor arrays, namely pixel and array size, and on the Read Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC) namely gain an noise limits. The circuit design and layout will be undertaken by another SME, Phoenix, with support from the NMRC. On delivery of the ROIC and microbolometer design and layout, Mitel will fabricate new focal plane arrays with support from the NMRC. To obtain optimal performance the sensor arrays must be hermetically packaged at low pressure. In addition the package must have an IR transparent window. Specialist providers can meet such packaging requirements, specifically the American supplier, ICC. An alternative lower cost solution will be developed with a European supplier. The testing and evaluation of the pre-packaged and packaged arrays will be the responsibility of all the partners.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
NN12 6AD Towcester, Northamptonshire