€19m for CMOS infrared sensor production in Europe
Ten companies have formed a consortium to develop and manufacture infrared CMOS sensors in Europe to maintain a strategic capability in the region.
The four-year HEROIC project aims to give European product manufacturers jointly acquire access to native CMOS technology to design new IR sensors and consolidate the supply chain.
The €19m project is mostly funded by the European Defence Fund and led by Lynred in France. It also includes CEA-Leti, which develop IR process technology, as well as chip designer Ideas in Norway.
Ideas was founded in 1992 by engineers from The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the University of Oslo and develops full-custom-made integrated circuits and sub-systems for many types of radiation detectors and imaging systems.
The project will specify a leading CMOS technology node for a next-generation Read-Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC). The common platform will allow each consortium partner to pursue their technology roadmaps for defence systems from 2030.
HEROIC is also the first collaboration of its kind to bring together European IR manufacturers including Lynred, AIM Infrarot-Module in Germany and Xenics in Belgium as well as system integrators Indra in Spain, Miltech Hellas in Greece, Kongsberg in Norway and PCO in Poland.
The next generations of high-performance infrared sensors being developed will use smaller pixels and provide longer detection, recognition and identification ranges, and offer larger fields of view and faster frame rates.
This will require higher resolution formats encompassing further reductions in pixel pitch sizes down from today’s standard 15μm and 10μm to 7.5μm and below. This will need to be obtained without increasing the footprint of the IR sensor to maintain reasonable system costs and mechanical/electrical interfaces.
“Lynred is proud to collaborate on this game-changing project aimed at securing European industrial sovereignty in the design and supply of IR sensors,” said David Billon-Lanfrey, chief strategy officer at Lynred. “This project represents the first phase for European IR manufacturers to gain access to a superior CMOS technology compatible with various IR detectors and 2D/3D architectures, and equally importantly, make it available within a robust EU supply chain.”
“The HEROIC Project will enable AIM to develop advanced ROICs based on European Silicon CMOS technology, as an important building block in its next-generation IR sensors,” said Rainer Breiter, vice-president, IR-Module programs, at AIM. “We are looking forward to working together with our partners in this common approach to access the latest advanced CMOS technology.”
“Xenics sees the HEROIC project as a cornerstone for its strategy of SWIR development for defense applications,” said Paul Ryckaert, CEO of Xenics. “Thanks to this project, the consortium partners will shape the future of European CMOS developments and technologies for IR sensors.”
www.lynred.com; www.aim-ir.com; www.leti-cea.com;
www.ideas.no; www.indracompany.com; www.kongsberg.com; www.miltech.gr; www.pcosa.com; www.us.es; www.xenics.com