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    New Generation of night vision goggles in development

    • Author:Durham Technology
    • Release on :2018-12-15

    CMOS technology could lead to a step-change in the images formed via night vision goggles and cameras, according to research being carried out by the market.



    Night vision goggles have a number of applications, from military use to farming; from scouts to hobbyists. While the images produced have improved over the years, what is seen is still far from perfect and a long way from what could be seen under artificial light.


    (CMOS) image sensor has a photodiode and a CMOS transistor switch for each pixel, allowing the pixel signals to be amplified individually. By operating the matrix of switches, the pixel signals can be accessed directly and sequentially, and at a much higher speed than a CCD sensor. Having an amplifier for each pixel also gives another advantage: it reduces the noise that occurs when reading the electrical signals converted from captured light.


    The process contrasts to night vision technology based on thermal imaging. CMOS technology is a newer, parallel readout technology and performs photon-to-voltage conversion.This includes light not visible to the human eye. This is amplified so that the wearer of the goggles can visualize images that would ordinarily be hidden in the dark.


    The photodiode (PD) is used to capture light, with PIN diodes or Shallow PN junction devices commonly used for this purpose. The most widely implemented Pixel Design is known as an “Active Pixel Sensor” (APS). Three to six transistors are commonly used, and they provide gain or buffer the pixel from large column capacitance. The color filter is used to separate out the red, green and blue (RGB) components of reflected light. And finally, the microlens gathers light from the inactive portion of the CIS and focuses it down to the photodiode. The microlens typically has a spherical surface and a webbed lens.


    What is advantage about the CMOS technology is that more energy-efficient and existing semiconductor manufacturing equipment can be repurposed for their production that  leads to costs reducing when compared with current (and less efficient) night vision technology. A further advantage is that the technology can be operated at a low temperature. Current thermal imaging devices need to cool down, in order to prevent "ghosting" (that is having an object in the thermal device's view leave a trail of heat when it moves).



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