Infrared sensors that measure temperature by detecting the infrared radiation of objects are already widely used in security, HVAC and smart-building applications, however in recent years demand has grown for infrared sensors that can offer higher pixel and thermal resolution. To meet this growing demand Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has developed the Mitsubishi Electric Diode InfraRed sensor (MelDIR), a thermal sensor designed for a wide range of next generation applications in security, access control, occupancy detection, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and smart buildings. With advanced image processing the MelDIR is able to accurately distinguish between humans and other heat sources and enables the identification of specific human behaviours.
Mitsubishi Electric originally developed the MelDIR technology for the Compact InfraRed Camera (CIRC) system used onboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in 2014 and is now in operation.
The sensor is constructed using a thermal diode InfraRed sensor array, this technology allows the sensor to offer higher pixel resolution (80x32 pixels) and higher thermal resolution of 100mK / 0.1°C compared with traditional thermopile sensors widely available on the market today.
Pixel structure of thermal diode infrared sensor
Using Mitsubishi’s microfabrication technique the diode array structure utilises extra thin supporting legs, this allows the diodes to convey energy efficiently without releasing heat, enabling more (smaller) pixels to be used for increased resolution. Electrical noise is also minimized by mounting the thermal diode and high specification amplifier close to each other on the same chip, helping to maintain accuracy and achieve high thermal resolution.
The sensor is housed in a robust and compact package developed with a proprietary chip-scale vacuum-sealing technology without using a conventional ceramic package, this innovation avoids heat radiation and allows the sensor to achieve high thermal resolution. This new packaging technology also allows the sensor to be 80 percent smaller than existing sensors available on the market.
Vacuum-sealed Chip-scale Packaging
The sensor enables highly detailed thermal images for distinguishing between humans and other heat sources and for identifying specific human behaviour, such as walking, running or raising hands. The sensor is still able to comply with any relevant privacy regulations because unlike a regular camera system it does not output an image where individuals can be identified, the output is a high resolution thermal image.
Conventional Camera Image
To support easier and faster development of applications with “MelDIR”, Mitsubishi have also made available development support tools that can be used in various applications. These include a microcomputer board that is connected to MelDIR and performs various signal processing, reference code that is installed with the device driver to realize various functions, a cable for connecting the microcomputer board to MelDIR, and a thermal image viewer that allows you to check infrared images in various modes on your PC. The supplied thermal image viewer software allows users to view images in any mode they prefer.
Microcomputer Board and Thermal Image Viewer for PC
A reference code incorporating a temperature correction algorithm (Patent pending) is available free of charge and included with the demonstrator software. This algorithm includes corrections to compensate optical characteristics when using MelDIR for accurate temperature measurements. The demand for body surface temperature measurement is rapidly increasing due to COVID-19 therefore this function is very helpful to reduce development time for such applications.
The tools can be tailored to your application, reference code can be chosen from a list to most suited to the application requirement allowing designers to speed up development of products utilizing MelDIR thus enabling quicker time to market.
Anglia are offering customers FREE samples of the MelDIR high resolution Thermal InfraRed Sensor from Mitsubishi, please fill in the form below to register your interest now.
FREE samples for UK and Ireland customers only, subject to availability.
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