Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Infrared camera provides a better view

06.07.2010
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:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010/07/infrared-camera.jsp

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time
21.09.2018 | NYU Abu Dhabi

nachricht Halfway mark for NOEMA, the super-telescope under construction
20.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

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: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells

21.09.2018 | Life Sciences

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>