Profile Feature Extractor (PFx) Sensor Component for Persistent ISR Applications
Currently no source exists for detector pixels arranged in custom arrays suitable for use with the PFx sensor. Plasmonics Inc proposes to become a source for such detectors by designing a new fabrication process for custom microbolometer arrays using a novel vanadium oxide alloy. This new bolometer material has comparable temperature coefficient of resistance to commercially available products, but it has lower resistivity resulting in reduced noise and improved sensitivity. Greater sensitivity means that the sensor will have greater range which is important to the UGS program. An innovative process methodology is proposed to manufacture custom arrays without the need to re-tool a production line for each new array factor. The new detector arrays are proposed to be fabricated directly on silicon wafers, ready to be wire bonded into a PFx sensor. In phase I the feasibility of both the new alloy microbolometer fabrication process and the production methodology will be examined in laboratory experiments. Completion of the SBIR program will result in improved sensitivity sparse-array detectors that can be produced more efficiently and cost effectively than the current commercial solution.
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