Ulis, a manufacturer of thermal image sensors, has announced a response time for its latest bolometer that is four times faster than standard bolometers. The company says it has achieved the increase in speed without compromising sensitivity.
The bolometer opens up the possibility to image fast moving objects without motion blur. According to Ulis, its new pixel technology, in conjunction with the bolometer’s comparably lower price, make it ideal for inclusion in machine vision cameras, where high frame rates for in-line quality inspection are required but the cost of adopting thermal imaging had previously been prohibitive. One example is monitoring glass manufacturing lines.
The sensor will also have applications in defence, such as in missile warning systems. Ulis, which is part of Sofradir and located in Veurey-Voroize, near Grenoble, France, will present the sensor at the SPIE Defence and Commercial Sensing show in Orlando, USA from 15 to 19 April.
Ulis says the new technology will significantly raise the overall factor of merit (FoM) of bolometers – the new pixel technology achieves an FoM of 125 to 150mK.ms, a four-fold improvement compared to standard bolometers.
FoM is a relative measure of thermal sensor sensitivity against response rate, and is a key parameter camera makers use to compare the performance of thermal sensors.
‘Ulis is thrilled with the outstanding results we have achieved in improving both the response time and sensitivity of the bolometer,’ said Sébastien Tinnes, marketing team leader at Ulis. ‘We feel camera makers will benefit tremendously from thermal image sensors, which, when used in conjunction with visible or SWIR cameras, can provide valuable additional information on product quality.’
The company presented its results in a technical paper entitled: ‘Ulis bolometer for fast imaging applications sets new response time record’ at Opto2018 in Paris.