This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project seeks to develop a next-generation Digital ROIC (DROIC) that will have a switchable dual-mode pixel and in-pixel digital readout architecture for a wide dynamic range according to IR imaging modes, and variable frame rates. This device will be multipurpose in support not only advanced FPAs for infrared cameras for various NASA missions, but also compatible with various material systems to support other IR spectral bands (NIR, SWIR, MWIR, LWIR) without additional redesign or DROIC manufacturing. This ROIC will have adjustable high frame rates varying from 30 – 100 frames per second (FPS) and high dynamic range up to 120 dB with functionality in low light conditions and extendable to >160 dB through the dual-mode innovation, and perform at low-power below 350 mW. The design realized in Phase I through circuit design, simulations and layout for fabrication of test-chips will be full developed and fabricated in Phase II during which the digital ROIC will be demonstrated with an IR sensor and camera system.
Proposed multi-purpose and general-purpose DROIC, will help to reduce image sensor cost and enable wider adoption for space and scientific applications. Applications include IR camera for all bands with compatibility for material systems used for SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR imaging, which will be used for earth science measurements and observations for current and future NASA missions such AIRS, TES, ASTER and HyspIRI as well as Sustainable Land Imaging – Technology (SLI-T) program to new Landsat-like instruments.
Other application include military target detection systems for acquisition, tracking, and pointing of high power directed energy systems on next generation airborne platforms, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, remote sensing, and satellite imaging. Commercial applications includes automobile security, biometrics, medical-device, and machine vision.