Nextreme Thermal Solutions and Princeton Lightwave have signed an agreement to jointly develop a SWIR focal plane sensor using extremely efficient thermoelectric cooling.
The solution is based on Nextreme's unique thermal bump technology and Princeton Lightwave's Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) focal plane arrays, and will reduce power consumption and weight, and improve overall performance. These features will allow wide deployment of SWIR sensors for night vision systems.
Infrared sensors are widely used by the US military and homeland security organisations. They are incorporated into night vision goggles, weapon-sights and laser based ranging and tracking devices. InGaAs shortwave infrared sensors are of significant interest to the military as they are digital devices that can be networked. They are sensitive to the nightglow radiation at 1.6µm wavelengths, enabling operation in total darkness.
Additionally, this part of the spectrum is eye-safe, allowing use of laser illuminators invisible to current night vision devices.
Detector performance is usually limited by thermally-generated noise, which can be reduced by cooling. The two companies are actively working on integrating thin-film thermoelectric coolers with focal plane arrays in order to provide innovative night vision imaging solutions.