A Review of Night Imaging Technologies Innovations for the Visible to Long Wave Infrared Systems

Joe Pellegrino, jpellegrino@nvl.army.mil, E. Bender, R. Stefanik, R. Draper, P. Norton, N. Supola, J. Campbell, P. Perconti; Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate

The history of night-imaging technologies can be divided into the categories of image intensifiers and solid state detectors. Image intensifiers amplify a visible/near-infrared image and subsequently convert this amplified signal into a visible screen image. The solid state sensors come in a variety of formats. The solid state design typically, but not always, has an active semiconductor layer that can absorb infrared radiation to generate electrons and holes. High-end IR sensors are usually HgCdTe diodes, grown and processed as either single or multiple band devices that operate at cryogenic temperatures. Other formats include uncooled bolometers, MSMs, PINs and APDs. This paper will focus on technologies that historically have been driven by Army needs: a brief overview of image intensifier (I2) technology and HgCdTe solid state detectors.

Keywords: Infrared, detectors, image intensification, microchannel plates

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