PARIS — Selex ES says it is about to nearly double the range of infrared cameras thanks to a new technique that packs four times as many IR pixels into a camera than current products.
UK-based researchers at the Finmeccanica unit say their new IR technology, called SuperHawk, will recognize vehicles at night at a range of 12-13 kilometers, up from the seven-kilometer range of similar sized, current products.
"It's like moving from a standard TV image to a HD TV image," a Selex spokesman said at the Paris Air Show.
The new sensor will pick up temperature differences as small as one-fiftieth of a centigrade.
The pixels measure 8 microns, each one-twelfth the thickness of a human hair, which the firm has described as the smallest production pixels in the world.
More important, the pixels do not suffer from what is called "cross-talk" where signals leak from pixel to pixel, creating a blurred image.
"People have been shrinking pixels, but we are the first to eliminate cross-talk," said the spokesman.
"The traditional method involves adding material to create each individual photo diode, which can lead to cross-talk if they are too close," the spokesman said. "The etching keeps ours apart, resulting in a much sharper image."
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.