Leuven, Belgium, 11 September 2014 — Xenics, Europe’s leading manufacturer of infrared imagers and cameras will introduce its SWIR (short wave infrared) imaging technology to aerospace and security system communities in Africa. This technology will be exhibited at the Xenics booth# A8 at Hangar 2.
What is Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) imaging?
For the uninitiated, SWIR imaging operates within the 0.9 – 1.7μm wavelength. Just like in visible imaging, you need a light source to make a SWIR image. The light source could be the sun, the night glow or an eye-safe laser.
SWIR offers distinct advantages in the areas of Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) and in remote sensing. SWIR covers a larger dynamic range, uses conventional optics, gives improved identification and recognition, can image through glass (so can easily be cockpit or gimbal mounted), delivers high frame rates and offers markedly better visibility and higher transmittance in poor atmospheric or weather condition.
Hyperspectral imaging in the SWIR range opens a wealth of new sensing applications for measuring environmental parameters, in geology for mineral detection, in agriculture for monitoring the maturity of crops and the type of vegetation that is present or in any application where disaster monitoring is needed. This is as relevant for airborne as it is for space based applications.
SWIR applications for Africa
Xenics has a dedicated in-house InGaAs (Indium Gallium Arsenide) SWIR sensor production facility. Xenics shortwave infrared (SWIR) cameras come with various resolution and frame rate options and allow for a large operating range. The large integration time range enables enhanced imaging during bright daylight, as well as night time. Xenics’ cameras using SWIR technology are well-suited for reconnaissance, monitoring and exploration tasks and can contribute greatly to public safety and security.
The two main applications that would benefit the aerospace industry in Africa would be in EVS and in remote sensing. EVS enhances situational awareness around an aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, fixed wing or rotary. This could be used in the form of visual enhancement for aids such as highlighting landing lights on a runway in conditions of poor visibility or for approaching oil platforms or at sea for coastal patrol work. Due to the wavelengths used, this gives a pilot or unmanned vehicle (UAV) operator the ability to see through fog, haze, dust and smoke. It also enhances the situational awareness around an aircraft, both when flying and when manoeuvring on the ground without being seen himself.
The second key use would be for remote sensing of the environment. Relevant applications for this would be in the monitoring of vegetation or for the exploration and exploitation of minerals. The capabilities in SWIR imaging are incredibly useful in firefighting, in exploration and in environmental monitoring.
Flexibility is always ensured by Xenics’ SWIR imaging products. This allows the operator to specify exposure times and frame rates, amongst other settings.
SWIR used in space observation
Xenics has delivered three of its Xlin-1.7-3000 InGaAs line detectors to the European Space Agency (ESA) for use in the Proba-V earth observation satellite which was launched on 7th May 2013. Proba-V is used to map crop and vegetation patterns. The images provide information for help in predicting environmental impacts such as famine, drought, flooding and other ecological threats.
The SWIR line-scan detector Xlin-1.7-3000 is based on mechanical butting of three InGaAs photodiode arrays with 1024 pixels each on a 25 μm pixel pitch, forming a nearly continuous line of 2900 pixels which means that Proba-V works to a centre resolution of just 200 meters from an orbit of 825 Km above the earth.
Xenics looks at the emerging security market
“The African market is very important to us,” says MEA Sales Manager Piet van Riel, “Our SWIR technology will open up new territories for any day and night vision tasks. SWIR imagers enable long-range identification and detection of covert battlefield lasers (laser rangefinders, laser designators and laser pointers and other markers), as well as to see through camouflage colours and patterns and to detect gun flashes. The fusion of SWIR and thermal detection delivers the possibility of excellent imaging under all conditions, independent of weather or light conditions and offers enhanced capability for use in safeguarding airport and other infrastructure, coastal patrols and for border protection.”
Xenics will have a product demo at their booth to show how SWIR cameras work. Piet van Riel, MEA Sales Manager, will be available in Hangar 2, Booth A8 to help with any of your inquiries.
Xenics, part of Exosens, is a pioneer of infrared technology with a proven track record of more than twenty years. Xenics designs, manufactures and markets infrared imagers, cores and cameras of best-in-class image quality to support machine vision, scientific & advanced research, transportation, process monitoring, safety & security and medical applications. Xenics offers a complete portfolio of products for the vSWIR, SWIR and LWIR ranges. Mastering all critical steps of the manufacturing process with advanced production facilities and in-house know-how on detectors, systems and software development Xenics delivers state-of-the-art solutions and optimized custom designs. Xenics ensures its commitment of doing good to the world by developing solutions for enhancing quality of life and sustainability. As a European vendor with a worldwide sales and service network, Xenics supports its customers with simplified export procedures.