There is virtually no part of a modern defense system that is not impacted in some way by optics and photonics, even when the system is not optically based. Modern defense systems are migrating toward optically based imaging, remote sensing, communications, and weapons. Even when the actual sensor is not optics-based, in many cases optics plays an important role, such as the migrating of RF photonics into microwave radar systems.

When it comes to defense imaging, the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) market segment is a primary area of focus. Syntec Optics leverages its expertise and experience in precision machining, single point diamond turning and thin film coating technology to produce optical solutions for imaging technologies such as thermal imaging, IR applications, hyperspectral imaging, single photon technology, 3D imaging, etc.

Infrared imaging is used in many defense applications to enable high-resolution vision and identification in near and total darkness. Thanks to recent advances, optics companies, and government labs are improving low-light-level vision, identification capability, power conservation, and cost. In addition to the ever-present demand to reduce size, weight, and power, the trend in the military and defense industry is to develop technology that cuts costs, i.e. to do more with less.

Hyperspectral imaging sensors look at many spectra of light in closely spaced bandwidths. It differs from infrared thermal imaging, which only looks at one light spectrum, and from multispectral sensors, which look at several different light spectra spaced widely apart. The big advantage of hyperspectral imaging is in detail it can provide. An infrared sensor or multispectral sensor, for example, might indicate the presence of a target of interest. A hyperspectral sensor, however, might indicate not only the presence of a target, but also the kind of metal it’s made from, the color and type of paint it has, or the amount of moisture it contains. Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) is a crucial application area for hyperspectral imaging.

A single-photon imaging system based on compressed sensing images objects under ultra-low illumination. With this system, it is possible to image at the single-photon level with a single-pixel avalanche photodiode without point-by-point raster scanning. From analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio in the measurement it is found that single-photon imaging has much higher sensitivity than conventional ones based on point-by-point raster scanning, while the measurement time is also reduced.

Syntec Optics is a leader in the design, development and production of custom machined parts for the defense imaging industry.