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Multispectral Filters Improve Camera Imaging

Materion Introduces ArrayTecTM

Product differentiation is key, especially in markets where a number of products that exhibit similar performance characteristics are available from a large number of vendors. This is especially true in today's industrial camera market where only a handful of vendors manufacture CCD and CMOS imagers, making it difficult for camera vendors to differentiate their products based on sensor performance alone.

While most of the imagers available today use the Bayer mosaic to allow color images to be captured, some sensor and camera manufacturers now offer custom filters that can be added to sensors and cameras to target specific application areas. 

Filter ArrayFilter Array_Checkerboard

By offering a range of off-the-shelf multispectral filters in butcher block or checkerboard formats, Materion can reduce the cost of multispectral imaging systems.

One of the benefits of using such multispectral filters is that they can be used to reduce the size, weight and power of aircraft and space-based imaging systems. Traditionally, such multispectral imaging systems have employed filter wheels equipped with multiple filters to perform these tasks.

However, employing multispectral filters with CCD or CMOS Imagers can certainly be used in commercial systems. To build such filters, however, imaging developers will require the expertise of such companies as Materion (Westford, MA). At this year's Defense and Security Symposium in Baltimore, the company unveiled its line of ArrayTecTM multispectral filters.

"In the past," says Kevin Downing, Director of Marketing and Business Development with Materion, "multispectral filters were built to customer-specific requirements in either butcher block or checkerboard formats. These were then shipped to the customer for mounting onto either linear or area array imagers."

For space-based applications, Materion has worked closely with Ball Aerospace (Boulder, CO) for example, to develop a custom nine-band multispectral filter for the LANDSAT 8 satellite.  The on-board imager fitted with the filter instrument provides 49ft panchromatic and 98ft multi-spectral spatial resolution along a 115 mile-wide swath, allowing the entire Earth to be imaged every 16 days.

While Materion still offers such custom capability, its customers now have the option to choose commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) filter arrays or semi-customized filter arrays. While the COTS arrays are pre-assembled with sizes up to 2in square and eight 1mm wide imaging bands, developers requiring semi-customized filters can choose from eight filters in the visible and short wave infrared bands. "By offering these options," says Downing, "the cost of developing multi-spectral camera systems using these filters will be reduced."  

By offering a range of off-the-shelf multispectral filters in butcher block or checkerboard formats, Materion can reduce the cost of multispectral imaging systems. For more information, contact Kevin.Downing@Materion.com
    

Note: Excerpted from: “Filters and Optics: Multispectral Filters Let Camera Vendors Target Niche Markets,” in Vision Systems Design, July 22, 2015.