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 (military imaging). Even when the sensor is not optics-based, optics plays an important role in many cases, such as migrating 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 technology is used in many military imaging 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 the 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 multispectral sensors, which look at several different light spectra spaced widely apart. The big advantage of hyperspectral imaging is in detail it can provide. For example, an infrared or multispectral sensor might indicate the presence of a target of interest. A hyperspectral sensor, however, might indicate the presence of a target and 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 of objects under ultra-low illumination. This system makes it possible to image at the single-photon level with a single-pixel avalanche photodiode without point-by-point raster scanning. From the 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. At the same time, the measurement time is also reduced.

Syntec Optics is a leader in designing, developing, and producing custom-machined parts for the defense imaging industry.