July 19, 2016 The new-awarded Phase II Mid-Infrared Imaging Fiber Bundle project will start on July 19, 2016.
Infrared cameras for thermal imaging applications can operate between 2-12 microns. These cameras produce a thermal image using two-dimensional arrays of infrared detectors (such as ferroelectric detectors or microbolometers). Some critical military applications require the use of high spatial resolution infrared imaging fiber bundle due to the area of study being inaccessible to infrared cameras because of limited size and/or extreme environment. Coherent fiber bundles are commonly used in the visible and near infrared (0.4 to 1 microns) to remotely transfer images to cameras. Unfortunately, coherent fiber bundles for infrared imaging in the range of 2-5 microns are not commercially available.
Upon the finish of the Phase I project, IRflex has demonstrated the feasibility of developing innovative imaging fiber bundles that are inexpensive, flexible, rugged and high fiber-count for use in the 2-5 microns. The imaging fiber bundle fabrication process will be adjusted during this Phase II effort to produce low-cost coherent infrared imaging fiber bundles.
Imaging fiber bundles in the spectral range of 2-5 microns have many potential applications. The proposed imaging fiber bundle is targeted primarily at military applications for infrared viewing of harsh environment and/or in tight space where infrared cameras cannot be used. The Air Force has a specific requirement for infrared viewing at turbine combustors and afterburners. The infrared imaging fiber bundle has other potential uses in military aircraft for surveillance, reconnaissance, and threat warning systems. Security Agencies (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security) and law enforcement officials could use the infrared imaging fiber bundle as a thermal fiber endoscope for covert surveillance from a safe distance to support hostage rescue, building surveillance, clearance, and search operations. Also the imaging fiber bundle can be made small enough to apply infrared spectroscopy to the study of human and other tissues. In-vivo biomedical imaging could differentiate spectra of cancerous tissues from those of corresponding non-cancerous tissues.