The Infrared Retina

Technology #ua07-104

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Researchers
J. Scott Tyo
Professor, Optical Sciences
Managed By
Amy Phillips
Sr. Licensing Manager (520) 621-9579

Invention:  This invention proposes an infrared retina that exploits the continuous spectral tunability of mid-infrared quantum-dot based sensors. The detectors sense information over different spectrally overlapping bands, similar to the cones in the human eye. The resulting spectral diversity can be exploited in an array format with either fixed spatial functionality, as is done in the retina, or dynamic spatiotemporal functionality. This proposed scheme offers a new paradigm for infrared sensors that could provide infrared-color imaging capabilities akin to visible spectrum three-color imaging and photography.

Background:  Present technologies utilize intricate assemblies consisting of multiple-color Focal Plane Arrays (FPA) with integrated spectral filters to achieve a limited color response. Conventional Multi-Spectral Imagery (MSI) sensors are designed to have a small number of spectrally distinct bands. Typical instruments have about 10 spectrally unique bands in the visible, near IR, and mid IR. Furthermore, most MSI systems utilize spatially separate focal plane arrays to measure each spectral band. This leads to increased system cost and results in large data volumes that make storage and transmission of data challenging in real time.

 

Advantages:

* Ultra/Hyper-spectral image response

* Spectrally, temporally and spatially tunable

* Extendible to other technologies

* Significantly reduces cost and complexity

* Operates without filters, gratings, or other optical components

 

Applications:

* Remote sensing

* Identification of chemical and biological compounds

* Anomaly detection

 

Status:  Issued patent No. 8,071,945

 

Contact: Amy Phillips; amyp@tla.arizona.edu

Refer to case number UA07-104