Low Light Level Color Imaging with Electron Bombarded CCD

Period of Performance: 08/05/1998 - 08/05/2000

$600K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Silicon Mountain Design, Inc.
5055 Corporate Plaza Drive,, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

Capturing color visible imagery in low light is becoming extremely important in both military and commercial applications. Currently, both military and commercial requirements for low-light-level applications are met with intensifiers coupled to charge-coupled devices (CCDs). These systems typically do not provide color images, and suffer from degradation of contrast, resolution, and singal-to-noise ratio. Moreover, adding color to existing image intensifiers would result in a bulky and expensive solution to the low light imaging need. SMD proposes development of a 3 chip color camers using a new type of sensor based on operating a CCD in the Electron Bombarded CCD (EBCCD) mode. Three dichroic color folters will decompose the input image into red, green, and blue components, and direct the components to 3 EBCCD focal plane array sensors. The resulting imagery of an EBCCD is superior to that of image intensifier tubes and would be compatible with existing commercial off the shelf (COTS) vido camers systems and software. The EBCCD offers nearly noiseless gain (gain of greater than several thousand is possible). Further, the EBCCD can be operated in high light conditions providing a rebust device without the problem of flash blinding inherent in trensifier based solutions.