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Smart Readout Integrated Circuit for Dual Band Infrared Focal Plane Arrays



The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.


OBJECTIVE: Obtain innovative infrared (IR) readout integrated circuit (ROIC) technology, including digital and three dimensional (3-D) ROICs that will enable large format, high sensitivity, high resolution, large dynamic range, large field of view (FOV), and fast data rate dual-band IR focal plane arrays (FPAs) for missile defense applications.


DESCRIPTION: The long read time and limited data-rate and dynamic-range capabilities of analog ROICs limit sensor performance. Analog ROIC output signal is susceptible to noise requiring added shielding and additional electronics for subsequent signal processing. Digital readout integrated circuits (DROICs) using in-pixel processing and an all-digital readout can provide low noise, wide dynamic range, wide FOV, high resolution, and fast readout rate for overcoming limits imposed by readout circuits on sensors. With the emergence of through-silicon via 3-D packaging and 3-D stacked fabrication technology a future ROIC is capable of more processing on the imager chip creating the potential for smaller, low power systems. Innovative technical solutions are solicited for a ROIC architecture/design that meets the following goals: format 512 x 512 or larger; pixel pitch from 10 micrometers to 30 micrometers; operating temperature 60 - 90 Kelvin; bias range 0 - 1 Volt; detector bias resolution less than 5 millivolts; equivalent well capacity up to 50 million electrons; read noise less than 200 electrons; dynamic range 14- 22 bits; full frame rate up to 200 Hz; power consumption less than 300 mW; and matching detector quantum efficiency 45 - 70%. The proposed solutions should also include a design that mitigates the effect of harsh manmade and natural radiation environments, including high energy particles and photons to prevent catastrophic system failure. 


PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design for the proposed algorithms and electronics architectures. Modeling, simulation, and analysis of the design must be presented to demonstrate clearly how near-term goals will be met. Proof-of-concept hardware development and test is highly desirable. Proof-of-concept demonstration may be subscale or specific risk reduction activities associated with critical components or technologies. Preliminary experimental results can be used in conjunction with modeling and simulation to verify scaling laws and feasibility.


PHASE II: Finalize the design of a prototype ROIC including all supporting modeling, simulation, and analysis. Validate the feasibility of the proposed technology developed in Phase I by development of the prototype and demonstration of a ROIC-enabled FPA for characterization testing at a dual-band level. Environmental testing, including radiation testing, is highly desirable in this phase.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop and execute a plan to market and manufacture the product developed in Phase II. DROIC designers are encouraged to collaborate with the detector and FPA community to achieve the best overall performance of the sensor chip assembly for missile defense applications and enable integration of the FPA into suitable integrated detector/cooler assemblies for subsequent testing.


COMMERCIALIZATION: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies and EO/IR components developed in Phase II for potential commercial uses in such diverse fields as law enforcement surveillance, astronomy, weather monitoring, aviation collision avoidance sensors, medical uses, homeland defense applications, and other infrared detection and imaging applications.


KEYWORDS: Readout Integrated Circuit, Digital ROIC, Digitization Per Column, Radiation-Hardened ROIC and FPA, Large Format, DROIC-Enabled FPAs, Digital ROIC (DROIC, Multiple Spectral Band)

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