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.
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