SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF103-068 (AirForce)
Title:  Infrared Scene Generation for Wide Field of View (WFOV) Sensors
Research & Technical Areas:  Sensors

 The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.
  Objective:  Develop affordable infrared (IR) emitter array technology for representing complex IR scenes on a large-format IR focal plane array (FPA).
  Description:  IR sensing is moving to large-format, wide-field-of-view (WFOV) FPAs. DoD is investing large sums in developing the next generation of sensors designed for Satellite, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Missile Warning Sensors (MWS), and Infrared Search and Track (IRST), but such systems involve the integration and development capability to support the hardware and software development campaign which now cannot represent the battle space. Current IR projection technology limits WFOV scene generation to a few degrees and WFOV sensors have a field-of-view over twenty degrees. Current IR projection emitter technology is limited to 5 millisecond response times; too slow in rise-time and frame rate to represent the transient events and the frequency content of missile plumes. Technologies are needed that can support full-frame or multiple-target windowing to stimulate the sensor under assessment with high-speed, high black body apparent temperature while maintaining very low background radiance. While 1 milliwatt emitter black body equivalent emission (MWIR) for a typical 50 micron emitter pixel is sufficient to represent a 3000K degree transient for a 2-to-4 degree narrow-field-of-view imaging sensor, wide-field-of-view sensors may need 40 to 50 times, or more, equivalent radiance amount per pixel to produce the same effective response to a bright event. This technology challenge has not been addressed by the test community. No viable technologies that are producible, affordable and environmentally compatible have been identified to provide a high dynamic range and operate in both ambient test bench and low-background (<80K) cryogenic vacuum environments. The objective of this effort is to develop an innovative technology capable of generating in software or projecting scenes onto a 2048 x 2048 pixel FPA, or larger, in fast wide-field-of-view cameras in the 2-6 and/or 6-15 micron wavelength region. This critical component technology should be capable of emitting independently controllable radiance in several sensor spectral bands per “pixel.” The technology should be easily integrated into a test bed typical of a UAS or spacecraft sensor test campaign. The proposal should specifically address the system level impacts and integration issues that may be involved in using this technology. Scenes must be projected for relative sensor motions and projectors must be mountable on a five-axis motion simulator to replicate relative motion of the sensor and target. The target infrared scene simulator (IRSS) mounts to the outer two axis of the five-axis system and duplicates the azimuth and elevation movements of the target. Jitter mirrors or other technology to simulate high-frequency motion of the emitter array to simulate response to rocket firing, platform vibration, and aero turbulence are of interest. Other topical interests are dynamic simulation of high-frequency image jitter due to sensor vibration , cryogenic and ambient ability for spectral control, dynamic polarization control on a pixel-by-pixel basis, and compatibility with high-speed infrared scene generation system modeling to provide more realistic modeling of space objects, structured backgrounds, etc.

  PHASE I: Work should demonstrate component performance and viability of the technology proposed to represent the battlespace environment for persistent surveillance applications at a Critical Design Review (CDR) level. Create a development plan, schedule, transition assesment, and requirements.
  PHASE II: Based on Phase I results, build and demonstrate a scalable IR emitter array component compatible with ambient and cryogenic background operation that can represent dynamic, high-speed IR events. The demonstration should cover the operational range to demonstrate speed, functionality, linearity, uniformity, and spectral stability. Validate the design for transition to the UAS and Space communities.

  PHASE III

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military Application: IR sensor developers, IR test equipment provider to DoD and extend the spectral range and operational systems for customers such as the USAF, MDA, DoD, NASA and other government agencies. Commercial Application: IR driving aid, medical IR tomography, earth resource satellite and mapping sensor calibration, industrial thermography, IR Photodynamic medical therapy and thermal printing engines.

  References:  1. Lowry III, H. S., D. H. Crider, W. H. Goethert, W. T. Bertrand, and S. L. Steely, “Scene projection developments in the AEDC space simulation chambers,” Proc. SPIE 5785, 140, 2005. 2. Mitchell, Robert W., “A composite pointing error analysis of a five-axis flight/target motion simulator with an infrared scene projector,” Proc. SPIE 6208, 620803, 2006. 3. Thompson, R. A., et al., “HWIL Testbed for Dual-Band Infrared Boost Phase Intercept Sensors,” Proceedings from 2002 Meeting of the MSS Specialty Group on Missile Defense Sensors, Environments, and Algorithms, 5-7 February, 2002. 4. Lawler, John V. and Joseph Curranoa, “Thermal Simulations of Packaged IR LED Arrays” http://www.atec-ahx.com/about/publications/Lawler%202008.pdf. 5. Solomon, Steve, and Paul Bryant, “Adventures in High-Temperature Resistive Emitter Physics,” SPIE Proc Technologies for Synthetic Environments: Hardware-in-the- Loop Testing VIII, Orlando, FL, 2003.

Keywords:  IR emitter array, IR projector, wide-field-of-view (WFOV) sensors, large-format focal plane arrays (FPAs), test equipment, hardware in the loop (HWIL), missile warning sensor, persistent surveillance sensor, hostile fire sensor, IR light emitting diode

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