Thursday, September 21, 2023

Texas Instruments Documentation

Texas Instruments made (mostly) area CCDs using the virtual-phase architecture invented by Jerry Hynecek in their Central Research Lab. Some later devices, designated "Impactron" incorporated a high-voltage shift register that provided electron multiplication. TI made these devices until 2011 when their fab in Aizu-wakamatsu, Japan, was heavily damaged in an earthquake. The CCD line was never restarted.

You may notice that the archive includes a data sheet for the TIVICON silicon vidicon camera tube. Truly, TI made an imaging vacuum tube before it made solid-state sensors.  It was built for an Air Force forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system that flew over the jungles of Vietnam making thermal images of people among the trees. The silicon vidicon looked at a spinning line of infrared LEDs (another TI product) to produce a windshield-wiper-shaped image that was displayed on a video monitor. I ran the lab that tested these tubes and I wrote the data sheet included in the archive to start TI on commercial sales of the tubes. I was gone before TI introduced CCDs but my boss, Frank Skaggs, moved to that program.

Link to the TI folder

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  1. What was the purpose of the spinning line of IR LEDS? Spinning IR detectors I would understand, but LEDs?

  2. Eric,

    The spinning line of 400 Ge:Hg (I think) detectors (at 4K) was on one end of a shaft and the matching line of NIR LEDs was on the other. The detector spun behind a germanium imaging lens to capture about a 90-degree arc. The detector signals were amplified to drive the LEDs. The LED line spun behind a lens which projected it onto the silicon vidicon target so the image had the shape of a wiped windshield. There were no visible LEDs made when this system was designed. Also, no digital image storage or electronic scan conversion. The tube scanning and array spin were synchronized so the image was stable. The system was the AN/AAD4 but i can't find a picture.


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