FLIR Santa Barbara Overview

FLIR’s Santa Barbara facility, formerly Indigo Systems, is the company’s primary manufacturing operation for cooled and uncooled infrared (IR) detectors. In addition to detector fabrication, FLIR’s Santa Barbara facility is also the center for VLSI design, Focal Plane Array (FPA) production, sensor packaging, and IR camera core volume production.

Mixed-Signal VLSI and ROIC Design

FLIR Santa Barbara maintains a world-class custom very-large-scale integration (VLSI) design capability focused on the development of mixed signal Read-Out Integrated Circuits (ROICs) for infrared and X-ray applications. These devices define the system-level functionality and performance of an imaging sensor. ROICs are silicon circuits upon which infrared FPAs are built. This in-house capability allows FLIR to design state-of-the-art ROICs to meet both the internal requirements of its own systems, as well as the specific needs of our customers. With over 100 completed designs, FLIR’s ROIC products are widely recognized as industry standards. Our devices are used in IR and X-ray systems throughout the world, a testament to our core competency in VLSI design.


Advanced FPA Packaging Technology

FLIR is one of very few companies capable of producing FPAs, sensors, and cameras that operate in the shortwave (SWIR), mid-wave (MWIR), and longwave (LWIR) portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. FLIR has developed a number of proprietary FPA packaging systems which include low-cost, lightweight dewars, cold shields, and related components. These capabilities enable leading designs of several of the world’s smallest, lightest, and lowest-power thermal cameras.


FLIR’s VOx microbolometer uncooled detectors are produced in four primary array formats:

  • 640x512  17µm pixel pitch              (Tau, Tau2, Quark)
  • 336x256  17µm pixel pitch              (Tau2, Quark)
  • 320x256  25µm pixel pitch              (Tau)
  • 160x120  25µm pixel pitch              (Tau)

Uncooled microbolometer detectors are sensitive in the LWIR spectral range of 7.5 to 13.5 microns.


Uncooled Infrared FPA Production

FLIR possesses the world’s highest volume production capability for vanadium oxide (VOx) uncooled microbolometers, with an internal capacity of over 250,000 yielded devices per year. These devices exhibit excellent performance and pixel operability. Production is performed in a state-of-the-art 6” wafer fab equipped with high-volume, fully-automated tools. In-situ metrology and rigorous statistical process controls ensure excellent product uniformity and repeatability.


Each array format is configured into a camera system with the appropriate features to meet optimized installation and operational criteria. FLIR uses a common FPA package design to accommodate all of its different array formats, enabling a simplified interface and manufacturing process, and reducing the unit cost. We also offer sensor packages to qualified OEM customers that have a demonstrated capability of building their own thermal imaging modules and cameras.


High-Volume Component and Camera Production Capability

Uncooled imagers are solid state devices that require little or no maintenance. Several optics choices are available for each array format at the camera level. FLIR also offers lens-less camera cores as an option for customers that wish to integrate their own optics.


The typical production rate of FLIR’s thermal imaging sensors and cameras is several thousand units per month, excluding Night Vision automotive products. FLIR has delivered over 50,000 Photon LWIR cameras, the predecessor to Tau and Quark. No other company maintains the material and manpower capable of such high-volume thermal camera production for both commercial and military applications. FLIR is a leading provider of uncooled cameras and lens-less cores for integration into systems for automotive night driving, unmanned vehicle IR payloads, weapon sights, firefighting, security/surveillance, and other high-volume applications.


Lead times for many of FLIR’s OEM Cores products is 2 weeks or less.