Sensors Unlimited: IR Imaging on a Chip
Goodrich Corp. subsidiary Sensors Unlimited Inc. in Princeton, NJ received a $1.25 million increment of a $5.7 million cost plus fixed fee contract to develop extremely small, lightweight, shortwave infrared imaging sensors on a chip. They’ll be used in helmet-mounted and micro air/ground vehicles.
The primary goal of this program is to establish the micro-systems technology for extremely light weight, low power cameras with the performance necessary for medium to short range applications. Micro-air and micro-ground platforms and helmet mounted applications require some special features: sensor operation at room temperature or with extremely low power cooling and temperature stabilization, micro-packages with operational lifetimes consistent with military operations, and optics and electronics consistent with the platform. DARPA specifically excluded research targeted at evolutionary improvements; innovations in optical and detecting materials, sensor design and fabrication, signal processing, and micro-packaging will be necessary to achieve their extremely light weight goals.
The first phase of the program will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating an imaging array into a micro-package of the size and weight necessary, with measured data supported by models and calculations predicting performance. Options may be exercised to continue the program after this initial demonstration; if they’re exercised, the second phase will feature a feasibility demonstration of an integrated system. Work will be performed in Princeton, NJ (93%), White Plains, MD (3%), and Woodland Hills, CA (4%) and is expected to be complete February 2009. Funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. DARPA posted Broad Agency Announcement BAA06-46 “Micro-Sensors for Imaging (MISI)” on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Oct 3/06, and 10 proposals were received (HR0011-08-C-0011).