Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Infrared camera provides a better view

At night on an unlit country road: the bends in the road restrict the view ahead and, to make things worse, it is foggy. The car driver is exercising all due care and yet still does not see the deer on the road ahead until it is nearly too late.

An emergency stop prevents a collision with the animal just in time. In such situations infrared cameras could provide a better level of safety. Objects at roughly body temperature are luminous in the infrared region at a wavelength of around ten micrometers. Detectors in the camera register this thermal radiation and locate the source of heat. This could enable drivers to see people or animals long before they come into vision through dipped headlights. Other road users would not be inconvenienced by the invisible infrared radiation.

The problem is that infrared cameras for the wavelength range above five micrometers like it cold – the sensor has to be constantly cooled down to about minus 193 degrees Celsius. Uncooled imagers for the long-wave infrared range do already exist today, but they are mainly used in the military sphere and are more or less unavailable on the European market. This is now set to change. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg have succeeded in producing an imaging sensor for the long-wave infrared range that functions at room temperature. »We could be the first in Germany to offer this technology«, says Dr. Dirk Weiler, scientist at the IMS.

At the heart of the IRFPA (Infrared Focal Plane Array) sensor is a microbolometer – a temperature-sensitive detector that absorbs long-wave infrared light. To produce a two-dimensional image, several microbolometers are combined to form an array. If the microbolometer absorbs light from a heat source, its interior temperature rises and its electrical resistance changes. A readout chip then converts this resistance value directly into a digital signal. Previously this was not possible without a further intermediate step – normally the electrical pulse is first translated into an analog signal and then digitized using an analog/digital converter. »We use a very specific type of converter, a sigma-delta converter, in our imager. This has enabled us to produce a digital signal directly«, Weiler explains.

As complex and costly cooling is no longer required, further areas of application become feasible beyond the automotive sector. »Mobile devices in particular should benefit from the new development«, states Weiler confidently. The fact that the cooling mechanism is no longer needed not only saves weight. The battery power available and therefore the operating time of the mobile device increase because no energy is needed for cooling. The potential uses of mobile infrared cameras include firefighting, where they could detect hidden hotspots or locate people in smoke-filled buildings.

Initial laboratory tests with the new sensor element were successful. The research scientists have already been able to produce a number of infrared images.

Dirk Weiler | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>