Small, Low Cost, Low Light Camera and Display with On Focal Plane Analog to Digital Conversion
Small Business Information
Amain Electronics Co.
P.o. Box 5028, West Hills, CA, 91307
William J. Mandle
AbstractThe ability to fully exploit the low level light vision advantages for surveillance systems offered by advanced two-dimensional infrared detector arrays is compromised by the cost, weight and size of existing analog sampling and multiplexing technologies. Amain Electronics proposes an innovative on focal plane digital readout approach which not only provides the necessary linear dynamic range, but also generates an offset free output data stream that can be input directly into a digital image processor or flat panel display. This eliminates the need for performance limiting analog electronics and off focal plane A/D converters providing a lower cost, smaller and lighter system with greater sensitivity. The Amain approach places an extremely low power analog portion of an oversimple A/D converter at each pixel site, eliminating all analog multiplexing and readout. A 1024 by 1024 staring array would have the equivalent of 1,048,576 A/D converters on the focal plane and would operate at power levels equivalent to or less than analog approaches. There are a variety of readout electronics architectures, including switched CMOS, CCD, CID and active pixel (APS), that can be used to implement the digital conversion process. These can be built in a monolithic component form, without need for special processing or precision components. This technology can be beneficially applied to all imaging systems; commercial, consumer and military with a resultant improvement in sensitivity.
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