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May 6th, 2014
Umicore launches new affordable lenses for night vision
Umicore will be launching two new revolutionary infrared lenses at the SPIE DSS exhibition in Baltimore, USA.
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Based on more than 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing thermal imaging lenses for commercial and military applications, Umicore has now developed two affordable, high quality lenses for  thermal imaging systems. John Franks, Technical Director, Optics commented: “Similar to the start of the mobile phone revolution, prospects for this technology are still in their infancy. Umicore is proud to be at the forefront of the new trend of integrating night vision into everyday products such as cars and cameras. We continuously invest in innovation and our manufacturing processes in order to produce cost-effective, high quality lenses.”

The lenses are made using Umicore’s innovative chalcogenide glass, GASIR®, and manufacturing technologies. Umicore’s molding capabilities are unique in this industry and provide cost-effective solutions for infrared imaging applications. The GASIR® lenses are developed at technology centres in Europe and high volume manufacturing is done at Umicore’s state-of-the-art facility in Quapaw, Oklahoma.

Our new 35 mm and 75 mm Long Wave InfraRed (LWIR) imaging lenses combine high resolution - compatible with 12 µm detectors - with a fast f-number of f/1.1. The designs use the properties of the optical materials to correct for changes in temperature and remove the need for extra mechanical complexity to maintain focus at extreme temperatures. Not only do they have low weight and size, a large back focal length allows these lenses to be used with a broad range of detectors.

The 35 mm f/1.1 design combines outstanding imaging performance for the latest 17 µm VGA (640 x 512 pixels) detectors with a length of just 1” (25.4 mm) and an impressive weight of 1.3 ounces (37.3 g), a quarter of the weight of the previous generation.

The 75 mm f/1.1 design is optimized to work with an even broader range of detectors, stretching from 25 µm QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) to the latest 12 µm XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) detectors. Yet it offers this performance with a weight of under 10 ounces (274 g) and a length of only 2.6” (66 mm).

These lenses are available in two versions. A High Durability version which is sealed to IP67 and with the front lens protected by Umicore’s unique iDLC coating to withstand harsh environments. There is also a High Transmission version, which offers increased energy collection for greater contrast.

Production has already started and orders can be placed by contacting Umicore (see details below). More information about the two new lenses is available on the Umicore website (www.optics.umicore.com).

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