SBIR Phase I: Novel MEMS Based Low Cost Thermal Camera

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0712340
Agency Tracking Number: 0712340
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Small Business Information
15 CABOT RD, SUITE 102/103, WOBURN, MA, 01801
DUNS: 004841644
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jack Salerno
 (781) 935-1200
Business Contact
 Jack Salerno
Title: ScD
Phone: (781) 935-1200
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project proposes a breakthrough Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) device that holds the promise of overcoming the drawbacks and limitations in present IR sensors. Based on a novel micro-photomechanical sensor design, the proposed MEMS technology passively transfers thermal infrared radiation into a visible image that can be readout by a mobile-phone type camera. This new thermal imager is simple to manufacture, amendable to large high resolution array, consumes little power, requires no cooling, and higher sensitivity due to the elimination of electronic noise. All hot objects emit electromagnetic radiation in the infrared spectral band. Thermal cameras detect infrared radiation emitted by the object itself and, therefore, can see objects in total darkness and measure their temperature profile. Human and animal bodies emit radiation at 7 to 10 microns in the infrared band, making thermal imaging ideal to detect them in either day and night. Thermal cameras can see far and can see through rain, snow, fog, and even smoke. Although humans can not see in this wave band, many of nature's creatures have good thermal vision, such as snakes and beetles. Thermal cameras that provide this capability represent the best available technology to address what is becoming known as the all-condition imaging market. However, the inherent high costs of the incumbent approaches have made them inaccessible to 95% of potential users. If successful the proposed technology will lead to a new class of disruptively low cost thermal camera that opens up a large previously un-served market. it will implement a critical sensor configuration improvement that doubles the sensitivity; bring the technology closer to practical application.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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