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ULIS Presents its Latest New-generation 160x120 Pixels Infrared Detector: The UL 02051


ULIS SAS of France, a European leader in the field of low-cost infrared detectors for thermal imagery, has launched its latest, third-generation, uncooled 160x120 pixels microbolometer detector - the UL 02 05 1 - which operates at room temperature. The low cost of the device is one of its strongest selling points. By dividing the price of the system by three or even by four through the use of innovative microbolometers, ULIS has made infrared imagery available to markets such as industrial surveillance, civil security, and even automotive driving-assistance systems.

In order to bring this new technology to market, ULIS has just invested €20 million in a new 1,500-square-metre production facility including 500 square metres dedicated to top-of-the-range clean rooms. The facility has a production capacity of 50,000 detectors per year. In 2005, the company plans to sell some 15,000 detectors and achieve a turnover of €30 million.

The new 160x120 pixels microbolometer focal plane array, which has a pitch of 35µm and a spectral response of 8µm to 14µm, is perfectly designed for low-cost thermal imagery and medium spatial resolution for military and civil applications. Because there is no cryogenic cooling system, optical modulator, or mechanical sweeping mechanism, and due to the small size of the detector chip, the product offers exceptional reliability and a level of performance that is sufficient for use in portable thermal cameras.

The latest innovation developed by ULIS uses amorphous silicon microbolometer technology that is fully compatible with CMOS silicon processes, which guarantees high manufacturing yields. The focal plane array sensor is integrated into a miniaturized housing, the UL 02 05 1. Electronic evaluation boards are also available on request.

Originally developed for defence-industry applications, infrared technology is now used in a large number of non-military applications. ULIS customers have been waiting for this new generation of sensors in order to manufacture better-performing, more compact cameras. The new technology was developed for all infrared camera manufacturers and integrators. There are a lot of possible applications including civil defence and security (fire and border patrol), medical imagery (diagnostic tools), manufacturing (process control, production plant monitoring, and preventive maintenance), the automotive industry (night-driving assistance), infrared binoculars, and aiming devices.

Philip Jolly | FTPB
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