Xenics, involved in several space projects such as Proba-V, is responsible for the design and development of the short-wave infrared detectors. A development which is a particular technical challenge supported through ESA’s General Size and Technology Program (GSTP). Proba-V (“V stands for Vegetation) will fly a reduced-mass version of the Vegetation instrument currently on board SPOT satellites to provide a daily overview of global vegetation growth. To match the Vegetation instrument’s 100° field of view, a total of three very long linear detectors of 1024 pixels each have been designed. These detectors are mechanically butted together to have a slight 80 pixel overlap. The detectors are made from indium gallium arsenide, which delivers high sensitivity without the need for active cooling.
Based on these newly developed high-resolution linear sensors, a novel standard NIR camera platform “Lynx” has been introduced. The camera marks a breakthrough in simplification and cost reduction for NIR technology, which opens numerous applications in the realm of industrial manufacturing.
The GigE Vision compatible Lynx camera is perfectly suited for scientific, machine vision, spectroscopy and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) applications. Practically all these applications require high line-rate sensors, that are compatible with high resolution and low noise combined with high dynamic range. The Lynx camera is capable of providing all these features. It comes with either a 512, 1024 or a 2048 pixel arrays at a line rate of 40 kHz (10 kHz for the 2048 pixel array) and with an extremely small pixel pitch (merely 12.5 μm), which enables more accurate inspection and smaller particle detection at wavelengths where visual camera’s (based on CMOS or CCD) have no sensitivity. It can be combined with a thermo-electric cooler (TEC) of up to 3 stages, offering low dark-current, and consequently high resolution combined with a high dynamic range.
Up till now, these resolution levels could only be obtained using complex multi-camera solutions. Use of the Lynx not only makes these types of setups simpler, but also much cheaper than before.