In-Line Sandwich of Silicon-based Photon-Counting Night Vision Sensor, Amplifier and Display
ABSTRACT: Currently fielded night vision goggles intensify images in an integrated components train comprising a photo cathode, a multi-channel plate for amplification, and a phosphor screen. A purely semiconductor-based night vision device with higher performance, longer lifetime and lower cost is desirable. Built upon proven semiconductor nano-technologies, the proposed Photon Counting Integrated Circuit (PCIC) provides photon detection, image enhancement and in-line visual display with zero offset. The PCIC in-line detection-enhancement-display sandwich can cover 350nm 1800nm wavelength, and has high pixel count and wide field of view to match those of the human eyes. The same PCIC delivers photon-counting night vision sensitivity and performs day-and-night imaging with glare control. In Phase I, we have fabricated and characterized the PCIC detector, optimize detector pixel sensitivity for night vision, and demonstrated glare control for day and night all light level operation. In Phase II, we will develop and prototype a complete PCIC in-line night vision sandwich to full specifications. The PCIC will be delivered to DoD laboratories for evaluation and demonstration. During Phase III, we will manufacture and market the PCIC night vision device to major defense contractors for incorporation into military systems and for our commercial medical device products. BENEFIT: Besides night vision either under covert illumination or under the more abundant natural night glow for military surveillance and target recognition, the proposed PCIC technology also finds commercial applications in laser detection and warning, laser eye protection, security, scientific instruments, biomedical imaging, ecosystem monitoring and protection, and manufacturing quality control.
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