Raytheon develops world's largest infrared focal plane array

Aug. 14, 2009
Raytheon Company (Waltham, MA) has developed the world's largest infrared (IR) light-wave detector, expanding current capabilities in missile warning, environmental monitoring, and astronomical research. Optimized for space applications, the new "4K-by-4K" focal plane array comprises some 16 million pixels, arranged in 4,096 rows and columns.

Raytheon Company (Waltham, MA) has developed the world's largest infrared (IR) light-wave detector, expanding current capabilities in missile warning, environmental monitoring, and astronomical research. Optimized for space applications, the new "4K-by-4K" focal plane array comprises some 16 million pixels, arranged in 4,096 rows and columns.

The detector is four times larger than IR detectors currently in production, giving it the ability to collect data from a much wider field of view with improved sensitivity. "This breakthrough in focal-plane technology will clear the way for significant design improvements in a wide range of military and civil applications," said Bill Hart, VP for Space Systems. "When employed as part of a satellite sensor system, the 4K-by-4K will permit full-Earth hemisphere staring with a single focal plane array."

Space-based missile warning is one area that could greatly benefit from Raytheon's large-format focal plane array. Sensors with this technology could provide an "unblinking eye" over an entire hemisphere and detect dimmer events or objects more quickly than currently fielded assets.

Weather satellites could provide continuous detailed information about global storms, and astronomers would be able to detect infrared phenomena from distances previously not possible.

Sensors using the array would also be easier to design, build and test because they wouldn't need the complex scanning mechanisms historically used to cover similarly wide fields of view.

Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

For more information, go to www.raytheon.com.

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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