Editorial Feature

Thermal Imaging Technology - Development and Application of ULIS's Thermal Sensor Array

ULIS, specialists in the design and development of high-precision infrared imaging cameras have been a part of a two-phase project involving the launch of the Micro80PTM thermal sensor array.

The Micro80P is a new product in the image sensing field of application and offers an 80x80 small pitch high-sensitivity array that also allows for maximum energy efficiency when being a part of the design and development of automation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Including project partners CEA-Leti, integrated Systems Development, Metaio, and Schneider Electric, ULIS is now preparing to take this new project of this thermal imaging sensor to the application development stage.

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The Micro80P thermal imaging sensor differs from single-element sensors in that there are a higher number of pixels and data provided and all data is more reliable in regard to spatial and thermal information, which allows for better analysis of human movement in buildings.

One of the main limitations with early detector materials is the high electrical power consumption and long cooling down time. Today’s imaging sensing market has addressed this limitation with, for example,  ULIS releasing the latest range of imaging sensing cameras that have become essential as an energy saving solution in buildings.

Product advantages for the Micro80P product includes a thermal sensitivity value of greater than 100mK set under a blackbody illumination platform at 20°C; image capture at 1 Hz with the help of a 34 micron pixel pitch. Pixel size has been a key focus point for advancing imaging sensors – progressive development in such technology has seen a reduction in the size of pixel which increases the number of pixels and thus optimizing resolution.

As the development of thermal imaging sensors progresses, manufacturers will start to implement new changes into their detector equipment including microbolometer systems. ULIS Are one such example, where they have used high-end microbolometer thermal detection technology allowing for their latest series of imager to operate at room temperature without the requirement of cooling, which mean that the inconvenience of gasses and high costs to close the cycle sterling coolers is not required.

One additional distinct advantage for the implementation of a microbolometer into thermal imaging technology includes increased penetration through smoke, smog dust and water vapour helping to expand the application for thermal imaging sensor technology.

The application of microbolometers into thermal imaging technology is a fundamental breakthrough for this market, though to help increase the precision of this technology, there must be further development in the field of electronics and microprocessors to allow for improved use in R&D, manufacturing process control, energy audits, and predictive maintenance.

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