Readouts for Energetic, High-Speed Event Sensing

Period of Performance: 01/13/2011 - 10/17/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

EPIR, Inc.
590 Territorial Drive
Bolingbrook , IL 60440
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Current infrared (IR) focal plane arrays (FPAs) are too slow for the detection of high speed events such as fast moving targets primarily due to the speed of their readout integrated circuits (ROICs). The speed of the readout is not only dependent on the unit cell bandwidth, but also the ability to move the electrical signals from the unit cell to the signal processing unit, which operates at ambient temperatures. While the speed of electronic circuits (for readout applications) has improved due to reductions in transistor gate lengths, the speed of the interconnects has become a bottleneck for present and future readout technology. At the same time, reduced pixel sizes and constraints on power consumption limit the incorporation of additional functionality in ROICs. In this SBIR effort, EPIR Technologies Inc. proposes to design a high speed ROIC using a three-dimensional integrated circuit (3D-IC) process comprised of multilayered integrated circuits built by stacking and integrating individual IC layers. Parallel connects between the analog and digital sections will be implemented using the 3D process by realizing them on two different substrates. This technology can provide a higher circuit density and enhanced speeds while retaining power conservation. BENEFIT: High speed IR imagers are required in a variety of applications where it is essential to capture and analyze high speed events. Such events at present are difficult to capture with existing imaging systems due to limits on IR readout capabilities. This proposed effort provides a method to improve the speed of IR imagers enabling access to a suite of potential applications including imaging turbine blades, missile defense, fire detection, chemical analysis and automotive safety systems.