SWIR Vision Systems wins Best of Sensors 2020 Award for its Acuros CQD SWIR Sensor

Hero image for Best of Sensors Awards 2020
SWIR Vision Systems took home the win for Most Innovative Product in the Mobile Devices category of The Best of Sensors Awards 2020, which honors winners in 11 product categories.(Questex)

SWIR Vision Systems, Inc., was named the winner of the most innovative product in the Medical category of the Best of Sensors Awards 2020 for its Acuros CQD SWIR Sensor. Entries were judged and winners selected on the basis of value to the marketplace, uniqueness of the design, and the impact (i.e., the “bigness” of the problems solved or issues addressed).

SWIR Vision Systems is an American technology company based in North Carolina. SWIR has pioneered quantum-dot-based infrared image sensors—a disruptive sensor technology that has delivered full high-definition infrared sensing to the industrial imaging market for the first time.

The word SWIR (pronounced “sweer”) is an acronym meaning Short Wavelength InfraRed, which generally refers to the wavelength band of light between 900 nm and 2,500 nm. Since common silicon sensors have an upper limit of approximately 1,000 nm, SWIR imaging requires special sensors and camera components that are capable of operation in the SWIR range.

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Unlike Long-Wave Infrared (LWIR) light, which is emitted from the object itself, SWIR light is similar to visible light in that photons are reflected or absorbed by an object, thereby providing the strong contrast needed for high resolution imaging. While LWIR imagers give off more poorly defined thermal images, SWIR imagers deliver high resolution images, much like visible light cameras.

SWIR imagers are used in a large number of applications, including silicon inspection, laser beam profiling, hyperspectral imaging, chemical and plastics sensing, machine vision imaging, agricultural sensing, surveillance systems, and medical imaging. They are also intended for use in mobile phone facial recognition sensors and for autonomous vehicle imaging though obscured environments.

Indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) sensors are commonly used in SWIR imaging, typically covering the 900nm to 1,700nm range. But InGaAs devices are inherently expensive and face challenges in scaling to smaller pixel pitches and higher resolution arrays.

SWIR Vision Systems’ patented CMOS-based CQD technology has the potential to scale down the cost of infrared sensors and approach the cost of today’s silicon-based CMOS sensors, thereby unlocking multiple large-scale and high growth market applications. New imaging technologies in the short wavelength infrared (SWIR) band are becoming a critical need for advanced industrial cameras, 3D mobile phone sensors, and future autonomous vehicle systems.

Acuros CQD SWIR Cameras (Image source: SWIR Vision Systems)

Featuring Acuros CQD SWIR Sensors, Acuros CQD SWIR Cameras are designed for high resolution broadband SWIR imaging. These cameras come equipped with single-stage TECs for lower noise operation and greater image stability. Using this technology results in brilliant, high resolution images that are delivered with high frame rates, high dynamic range, and a broad range of exposure times.

“Silicon CMOS image sensors have low quantum efficiency in the Near Infrared range and InGaAs-based sensors are inherently costly and practically limited to pixel pitches greater than 5 microns. In contrast, SWIR Vision Systems’ Acuros 1920x1080 HD SWIR cameras deliver full 2.1-megapixel, high definition imaging for industrial short-wave infrared applications. Using patented CMOS-based CQD technology, the sensor consists of colloidal quantum dot (CQD) thin-film photodiodes fabricated monolithically on silicon readout wafers to deliver a 400-nm to 1,700-nm broadband image sensor. In addition to industrial camera, security, and surveillance markets, the CQD sensor can also address the technology gap requiring low cost, higher quantum efficiency, and higher resolution sensors for next generation mobile phones and automotive Advanced Driver Assistance System or ADAS sensors,” said Judge Randy Frank, President Randy Frank & Associates.

For full list of finalists in the Best of Sensors 2020 Awards:


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