Products > Thermal Imaging

FLIR SC3000 cooled GaAs Quantum Well FPA LWIR camera teardown by Fraser

(1/4) > >>

Now for something a little different !

I have owned a FLIR SC3000 science camera for quite some time but have not previously detailed it on this forum. This camera in notable for several reasons....

1. It is a Science Camera, so is very capable
2. It uses a Stirling Cooler to cool the FPA to 77K (-196 Celsius)
3. The FPA uses GaAs Quantum Well photodetectors
4. The camera is a cooled LWIR unit sensitive to the 8um-9um wavelengths (yes 8um to 9um)
5. The QWIP FPA provides a thermal sensitivity of better than 20mK

FLIR were very proud of their QWIP science camera and made great claims for it, including it being the future of high sensitivity, high measurement accuracy LWIR thermal imaging. It was certainly a new technology but it required the use of a Stirling Cooler so that made it very expensive. Modern LWIR microbolometers claim excellent thermal sensitivities but the SC3000 offered amazing sensitivity for its time and is still a very low noise imaging device today. Cooled cameras do not tend to exhibit the 'next curtain / chicken mesh' effect that is prevalent in microbolometer technology cameras.

The SC3000 is a static camera that is controlled by either a handheld remote control or a computer. A digital data output is included for passing 14 bit image data to a PC for analysis. Radiometric images may be stored on the internal PCMCIA ATA flash card (CF card compatible with an adapter)

As this is an unusual cooled LWIR camera I thought I would share its teardown with the forum. It has much in common with the Cooled Agema Thermovision 550 that I detailed in another teardown on this forum. The FPA is where the main physical differences exist. The optics are designed for LWIR operation covering the 8um to 9um wavelengths used by the GaAs QWIP FPA.

To the documents and pictures ....

I attach the brochures and Patent for the SC3000 QWIP camera.

Pictures begin.....

Note the SC3000 lens needs a clean but is otherwise in perfect condition :)


The two halves of the casing showing the main electronics package in one side and the Cooler/FPA/Optics package in the other side.

The Stirling Cooler is of the rotary type. It is connected to the QWIP FPA via a cold finger that is within a vacuum Dewar. The output of the FPA is connected to a small PCB that, in turn, connects to the FPA processor PCB mounted on the Main computer PCB.

The optics block in this camera is a motorised focus internal design that is not removable to change the FOV. Optional supplementary lenses are mounted on the front of the camera when a different FOV is required. The supplementary lenses have magnets mounted in them that communicate to the camera which lens is fitted. Automatic calibration offsets are then employed for measurements. The optical block also incorporates a flat field flag and solenoid but this is different to that of a microbolometer FFC flag as it does not operate unless commanded to do so or upon changes of range. There is a motor driven high temperature filter in this camera to enable the measurement of temperatures up to +2000 Celsius. 


Pictures show the Main computer PCB, FPA Detector processor PCB, Power Supply PCB and TAXI 14 bit digital communications PCB



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

There was an error while thanking
Go to full version
Powered by SMFPacks Advanced Attachments Uploader Mod