Invention from TUM: Low-Cost Night Vision Device

The Technische Universität München (TUM) invented a night vision device. The invention with the project name “ThermaVision” can be applied in the fields of electrical engineering & electronics and measurement technology & microsystems. Infrared cameras are e.g. used as night vision devices for cars or in the field of security. Existing technologies are quite expensive as they need to be cooled or use micro-channel plates or similar complex technologies.

Night vision device

Invention
The invention describes a small and simple uncooled IR-sensor whose technology is based on the conversion of infrared light into visible light. It can be build as a cap for existing CMOS-devices. The fabrication of the sensor is compatible with existing semiconductor processes. Structuring of the sensor should bring good resolution and high image quality. The sensor shows a temperature resolution of less than 0.1°C. The proposed design enables a low cost production of the IR-sensor.

Commercial Opportunities
Night vision cameras are used e.g. in the field of security or military applications, to determine energy flows (e.g. for the mandatory energy pass), or for fire detection. Another mass market is the automotive sector where thermal imaging cameras are used today in the premium segment for driver assistance to detect humans or animals on the road. The possibility to produce low cost thermal imaging cameras with this invention allows the usage of these cameras in the non-premium segment.

Developmental Status
The feasibility has been shown. Further development of the invention can be supported by the university.

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