Smart Infrared Focal Plane Arrays and Advanced Electronics
Observing faint objects moving at a distance as well the"man behind the burning tank"requires both a high maximum signal level and a high dynamic range. A simple, yet game changing approach, the distributed analog-to-digital converter (Distributed ADC), provides nearly unlimited upper signal level without corrupting the noise floor at low amplitudes. This will add 3 bits of resolution and improve the signal to noise ratio (SNR) by 18 dB. The Distributed ADC described is very important in the context of shrinking unit cells, as there just is no space to accommodate a large capacitor. The target deliverable for the proposed program is a 1k x 1k MWIR digital-ROIC with 32 on-chip ADCs and with a buttable architecture that is rad hard (>300 krad and SEE immune). Target unit cell size is 15 microns. Nu-Trek is collaborating with L3/Cincinnati Electronics (CE), a leading supplier of IR cameras, to provide a direct commercialization path. In particular, the proposed innovations are slated for an upgrade of one of the NightConqueror cameras. Nu-Trek is setting aggressive Phase I goals, and will leverage work in progress to tape out a chip containing representative circuitry in Phase I.
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