Nextreme Thermal Solutions and Princeton Lightwave to Jointly Develop Power Efficient Cooling Solutions for Next Generation Imaging Sensors

Nextreme Thermal Solutions, Inc., the leader in microscale thermal and power management products for the electronics industry, and Princeton Lightwave, Inc. (PLI), the leader in short wave infrared (SWIR) sensors and lasers for the defense industry, have entered into an agreement to jointly develop a SWIR focal plane sensor using extremely efficient thermoelectric cooling. The solution is based on Nextreme’s unique thermal bump technology and Princeton Lightwave's Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) focal plane arrays, and will dramatically reduce power consumption and weight, and improve overall performance. These features will allow wide deployment of SWIR sensors for night vision systems.

Infrared sensors are widely used by the U.S. military and homeland security organizations. They are incorporated into night vision goggles, weapon-sights and laser based ranging and tracking devices. InGaAs shortwave infrared sensors are of significant interest to the military as they are digital devices that can be networked. They are sensitive to the nightglow radiation at 1.6 um wavelengths, enabling operation in total darkness. Additionally, this part of the spectrum is eye-safe, allowing use of laser illuminators invisible to current night vision devices.

Detector performance is usually limited by thermally-generated noise, which can be reduced by cooling. The two companies are actively working on integrating thin-film thermoelectric coolers with focal plane arrays in order to provide innovative night vision imaging solutions.

“Nextreme’s technology and assembly platforms for thermoelectric devices together with PLI’s low dark current, high performance 2 D focal plane arrays have great potential for achieving significant efficiency improvements over conventional techniques,” said Sabbir Rangwala, V.P. Product Development at PLI. “Their technology offers a path for innovative integration within PLI sensors in order to provide superior performance with power efficient cooling.”

“We are looking forward to developing a cooling solution with Princeton Lightwave that removes the barriers associated with the widespread use of SWIR sensing technology in next generation products,” said Dr. Paul A. Magill, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Nextreme.

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