Liquid crystal uncooled thermal imager development
An uncooled thermal imager is being developed based on a liquid crystal transducer. The liquid crystal transducer changes a long-wavelength infrared scene into a visible image as opposed to an electric signal in microbolometers. This approach has the potential for making a more flexible thermal sensor. One objective is to develop imager technology scalable to large formats (tens of megapixels) while maintaining or improving the noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) compared to microbolometers. Our work is demonstrating that the liquid crystals have the required performance (sensitivity, dynamic range, speed, etc.) to make state-of-the-art uncooled imagers. A process has been developed and arrays have been fabricated using the liquid crystals. A breadboard camera system has been assembled to test the imagers. Results of the measurements are discussed.