The image quality of an infrared detector depends on its spatial resolution that is related to the size and number of pixels. This means the higher the number of pixels and the smaller the pixel size, the sharper the image.
In regards to the 10-micron pixel pitch, the small pitch means that Sofradir can double the number of pixels on a standard size chip. With this significant increase in image resolution, fighter pilots and soldiers will be considerably more effective in distinguishing between small objects at long distances (up to ten km) during the day and night, and through fog and smoke.
Targeted military applications of Sofradir’s 10-micron pixel pitch IR detector will include Infrared Search and Track Systems (IRST), targeting and reconnaissance pods, long-range surveillance and armored vehicles.
“It is critical for the military to see first and see the right target, whatever the weather conditions. This is what the higher resolution, higher range 10-micron pixel pitch infrared detector helps provide,” said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO at Sofradir. “Sofradir continues to build on its legacy of innovation. We were the first to introduce the 15-micron pixel pitch TV format IR detector, a compact high-resolution product that brought system integrators significant advantages in performance and footprint and has become an industry standard. We’re taking the lead once again by pushing the bar from 12-micron pixel pitch that exists today to 10-micron. Our customers can look forward to the ultimate performance in IR systems.”
The focal plane array prototype was developed with the support of DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) by CEA-Leti at DEFIR, the joint laboratory of Sofradir and CEA-Leti. CEA-Leti is a leading European microtechnology, IT and health technology research center.
Sofradir credits its Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT/HgCdTe), a cooled IR technology using a silicon-like photodiode implantation process, for enabling the development of the 10-micron pixel pitch IR detector.
MCT is extremely effective at controlling pixel diodes. Moreover, Sofradir’s indium bump positioning process (the bumps are connection pads that join the detection circuit and the read out integrated circuit together) is very accurate. This level of control offers Sofradir two options: It can fit more pixels on the IR chips currently in use and therefore further enhance image resolution or develop smaller IR chips for overall IR system cost-savings.
Sofradir will showcase the 10-micron pixel pitch IR prototype at stand 1711.