ULIS announces new infrared sensor facility

July 9, 2012
Veurey-Voroize, France-- Manufacturer of high quality infrared (IR) imaging sensors, ULIS, has announced on its tenth year anniversary a EUR 20 million investment in a new state-of-the-art facility to meet increasing market demands for IR technology. 

Veurey-Voroize, France -- Manufacturer of high quality infrared (IR) imaging sensors, ULIS, has announced on its tenth year anniversary a EUR 20 million investment in a new state-of-the-art facility to meet increasing market demands for IR technology.

According to the Yole Developpement report, “Uncooled Infrared Imaging: Commercial & Military Applications”, sales of uncooled IR cameras will grow from 320,000 units in 2011 to 1.1 million units in 2017. Figures also show that the market share for uncooled IR imagers for commercial applications will represent more than 80 percent of the total uncooled IR imaging market, with the slice for military applications shrinking from around 30 to 15 per cent.

ULIS will introduce a series of low cost IR sensors through the new facility. These high-volume, low cost IR sensors will use new packaging technologies, such as Pixel Level and Wafer Level Packaging (PLP and WLP). PLP and WLP technologies involve packaging an IR chip at wafer level rather than using the traditional method of assembling the package of each individual chip after wafer dicing. In addition to making the resulting packaged IR chip more compact and robust, it is a time-saving process.

Equally important, the new facility will allow ULIS to move production from 150 mm silicon CMOS wafers to the advanced 200 mm silicon CMOS wafer. In doing so, ULIS will introduce a new product line aimed at filling a gap in the supply for low image resolution IR sensors needed by applications such as enhancing energy efficiency of heating/cooling systems or detecting people, among others.

The shift to 200 mm CMOS wafers will mean that ULIS will have a greater capacity to integrate additional functions onto its IR chips, thereby reducing the complexity in using IR technology. This could include adding more memory for voltage reading, for example, so that less tuning is required. By integrating functions, ULIS foresees it will make IR technology simpler and more accessible for imaging system designers and camera makers to adopt in commercial applications.

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Kellie Chadwick | Editorial Intern

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