L-3 Claim Performance Breakthrough with Uncooled Thermal Imagers


L-3 Infrared Products is developing a new line of uncooled thermal imaging products called Thermal-Eye ‘Series 17’. According to Mike Studer, VP Marketing, L-3 Infrared Products, the new line is based on a new and promising technology called ‘Amorphous Silicon’ representing new and revolutionary sensing capabilities.

Amorphous silicon is a non-crystalline allotropic form of silicon which does not have long range order at the atomic level, instead, the atoms form a random network. One of the main advantages of amorphous silicon when compared to other infrared detector materials is its common usage in a variety of high-volume products. Crystalline silicon – the same material in a different form – is the standard material used worldwide to make semiconductor chips. Amorphous silicon technology is well understood as it is used widely in large-area electronics such as liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) and photovoltaic solar cells. L-3’s Series 17 product family, is based on the 17µm (micron) amorphous silicon technology and offers 640 x 480 resolution, representing the smallest pixel array uncooled infrared sensor available for commercial production.

“We use a unique architectural approach, deploy advances in material science, and have the technological bench strength to take our sensor products beyond the current industry norms”, said Steve Frank, CTO, L-3 Infrared Products. L-3 plans to introduce small-size, highest resolution arrays in the uncooled industry based on its new Series 17 products. Among the products planned are 17µm 640 x 480 detector and digital imaging module, a 320 x 240 detector array, as well as a 1024 x 768 detector array. Further, a dual-field-of-view long-range imaging module is underway and will feature a 1024 x 768 array that uses 640 x 480 electronics.