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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Dualband MW/LW Strained Layer Superlattice Focal Plane Arrays for Satellite-Based Wildfire Detection, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Infrared focal plane arrays (FPAs) based on Type-II strained layer superlattice (SLS) photodiodes have recently experienced significant advances. In Phase I we developed and delivered to NASA a 320x256 DUALBAND FPA integrated in a dewar cooler assembly (IDCA) that produces simultaneous and spatially-registered imagery in two spectral bands, namely, a fire channel in the 3-5 micron window and a thermal channel covering 8-12 microns. Such FPAs are known to be uniquely effective for detecting wildfires either locally from aircraft or globally from satellites in low earth orbit. The performance of SLS detectors now rivals that of mercury cadmium telluride but at a fraction of the cost. Their high quantum efficiency combined with the advantages of two-color imagery and data interpretation will permit the detection of wildfires with much reduced false alarm rates. The same devices will also enhance NASA's capabilities in a host of other satellite and airborne Earth-observing missions devoted to long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans. They will also be instrumental in supporting future Space Science missions aimed at studying distant galaxies and discovering potentially habitable planets orbiting other stars. In Phase II we will expand dualband FPA format to 1280x1024 (12 micron pitch) and develop and deliver both a compact IDCA and camera so that NASA can field-test this promising new sensor technology for its wildfire-detection and other remote-sensing missions. More »

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