Boston Electronics Corporation


Infrared Sources
Signal Processing

Ordering info

.   Tel: 617-566-3821   Fax: 617-731-0935   91 Boylston St. Brookline, MA 02445

Infrared Detectors and Imaging Arrays

Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) detectors from Vigo System operating at or near room temperature

Thermopile and Pyroelectric "thermal" detectors and imaging arrays from Heimann Sensor which are also room temperature devices. 


MCT detectors from Vigo - fast, sensitive - click here for our catalog

Thermopiles from Heimann Sensor - low cost, sophisticated solutions for gas concentration and temperature measurement

click for detector catalog


See below for the arrays catalog.


(1) PLUG-and-PLAY OPERATION is easy to achieve: we routinely deliver your choice of Vigo detector mounted on the exterior of a preamplifier (bandwidths from DC to 1+ GHz that you bolt to a heat sink, cable to a TE-cooler controller (that we also supply).  You attach the BNC cable to your display or recorder and you are in immediate operation!

(2) These devices are very good and getting better.  Vigo has changed over production to new MOCVD equipment, which gives much better control of material properties and device architecture.  This has lead to a rapid escalation of device sensitivity.  Now we can readily deliver TE-cooled photovoltaic devices with D*(10.6 microns) > 2.5x10E9 cm.hz1/2W-1 from DC to >50 MHz and TE-cooled photoconductive devices with D*(12 microns) > 3x10E9 from >20 kHz to >15 Mhz.  These device operate entirely without LN2 or any other cryogenics yet provide performance that is only a factor of 3 to 5 less than cryogenic devices, and 10 to 1000 times better than other non-cryogenic detectors!

Our product line features infrared detectors whose sensitive wavelength begins in the visible or around 2 microns.  The longest wavelength they measure varies; models are available that measure to 3 microns, 4 microns, 5 microns, 6 microns, 8, 10.6+ microns, 12 and 13 microns.  These detectors are optimized to specific wavelengths, and are appropriate for use over a spectral range beginning at 1 micron for photoconductive types and at 2.5 microms for photovoltaic types and dropping off fairly sharply beyond their optimized wavelength.  Also available are several CO2 laser detectors, which have optimum operation at a nominal wavelength of 10.6 microns.  For a pdf on most of our IR quantum detectors, click here.

Photoconductive vs. Photovoltaic

The detectors come in photoconductive and photovoltaic types.  Photovoltaic detectors create a measurable voltage and current in response to photon bombardment, much like a solar cell.  Photoconductive devices change resistance when photons come in.  A low noise bias current must be used to measure the resistance change.  Photoconductive devices tend to have somewhat higher signal (responsivity) and sometimes slightly better signal-to-noise than photovoltaic equivalents when operated at optimum frequencies.  On the other hand, photoconductors exhibit excess noise at low frequencies - called 1/f or flicker noise, are often slower in frequency response, and the low noise bias circuit costs money.  For these reasons, the photovoltaic devices are preferred for most applications.  Nevertheless, photoconductors can be made with larger active areas than PV devices, so sometimes the need for larger area will prevail over the other advantages of PV devices and make PC the right choice.


Sensitivity of our detectors can be increased by thermoelectric (TE) cooling or by the use of an immersion lens, or both.  TE-cooled detectors must be mounted on a heat sink.  Additionally, a TE-cooler power supply/controller is necessary.


Choosing a detector and, if necessary, an associated preamp and TE cooling device can be a confusing task.  Please ask us for help!

The following articles offer assistance in selecting a detector and in proper care and wiring of the detector.


We are exclusive agents in North America for Heimann.  Their process is totally based on silicon and specifically on silicon that can be made by standard microcircuit processes, with resulting LOW COST and HIGH SOPHISTICATION.

In general, our thermal detectors are used for non-contact temperature measurement and for gas concentration sensing by absorption of IR radiation at a specific wavelength in a gas cell.  We encourage your inquires - please tell us about the details of of your application, quantities invloved and schedule on which samples and production quantities will be needed.  We will respond with our suggestions regarding detector type (Thermopile of Pyroelectric) and other details.  Our thermopiles are very competitive with those of Dexter Research and Perkin Elmer (now "Excelitas").

Click here for info on Thermopiles for temp and gas concentration sensing with 1 to 4 elements.  Heimann thermopiles are competitive with devices from Perkin-Elmer (now "Excelitas"), Dexter Research and others.

IR Imaging Arrays


8x8, 32x32 and 64x62 and 80x64 element thermopile arrays are now available with either digital or analog outputs.  Many new classes of products will be designed around these devices (which are LOW COST in production quantities) in a new generation of low cost thermal imagers. 

Click here for info on Imaging Arrays and Linear Arrays and Application Sets. There are no competitors for these low cost devices.

Low cost imaging application sets provide out of the box infrared imaging. These are turnkey kits including sensor array, optics, housing, software, cables and tripod. 


Additional infomation on Heimann products:


Click here for info on Pyroelectric detectors.  Heimann pyroelectrics are competive with devices from InfraTec, from Perkin-Elmer (now "Excellitas") and others.

Click here for a thermopile AMPLIFIER schematic.



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