Integrated fisheye optics yield 360-degree IR images

April 28, 2011
Chatenay-Malabry and Palaiseau, France--Sofradir and Onera have developed a new IR detector with integrated fisheye optics that features built-in 360 degree imaging.

Chatenay-Malabry and Palaiseau, France--Infrared (IR) detection company Sofradir and Onera, a center of excellence for aerospace and defense research, have developed a new IR detector with integrated fisheye optics based on Sofradir's mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe) technology that features built-in 360 degree imaging. Previously, systems could only offer 360 degree imaging by using separate optical components. The new product will help producers of missile-warning systems reduce the size of the associated optical sensors and also make them more robust.

"Sofradir and Onera are delighted to announce this new IR detector with integrated Fisheye optics for 360 degree imaging that meets defense market demands for more compact equipment," said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO of Sofradir. "This product marks another important step in Sofradir's drive to bring customers best-in-class solutions, so that they can develop even smaller and better performing imaging systems."

The direct integration of 360 degree imaging lenses into the IR detector offers several benefits. First, the number of optical components is reduced. As a result, the camera's optical transmission is increased. This, in turn, improves the camera's sensitivity, a key feature in the performance of IR cameras. By embedding the imaging lens into the cooling chamber, Sofradir and Onera have kept stray light to a minimum. The ability to minimize stray light means that the thermal response and the background current are more stable. This extra stability reduces the need to correct non-uniformity, a weakness that occurs in standard IR cameras.

Missile warning systems are used on selected aircraft to notify the pilot of threats and to trigger the aircraft's countermeasures systems. They consist of a number of optical sensor converters, a computer processor, and a control indicator. Each optical converter houses an infrared camera.

Sofradir ( develops and manufactures advanced infrared detectors (IR) for military, space and commercial applications. Sofradir also offers QWIP detectors developed in cooperation with Thales. Together Sofradir, ULIS, and Sofradir EC employ more than 500 people.

Onera ( is the leading aerospace and defense research organization in France. A public establishment created in 1946, it reports to the French Ministry of Defense. Onera has over 2,000 employees at eight major facilities, including 1,500 scientists, engineers and technicians, including 220 doctoral candidates and post-doc researchers. In 2009, Onera had revenues of 210 million euros.

SOURCE: Andrew Lloyd & Associates press release;

Posted by:Gail OvertonSubscribe now to Laser Focus World magazine; It’s free! Follow us on TwitterFollow OptoIQ on your iPhone. Download the free App here

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!