ULIS specializes in developing, manufacturing, and marketing innovative thermal chips. We provide customers with best-in-class thermal image and thermal activity sensors enabling them to offer products with the most competitive advantages. Our business model as a ‘merchant supplier’ means we focus solely on producing key components. We collaborate rather than compete with our customers.
ULIS manufactures products from a state-of-the-art 8-inch (200 mm) wafer facility that offers customers:
ULIS’ thermal image and activity sensors are MEMS-based microbolometers, which convert long-wave infrared radiation into visible images.
Since its inception in 2002, ULIS has acquired in-depth knowledge of the basic building blocks that form a microbolometer thermal sensor:
ULIS has developed substantial know-how in CMOS technology, using it to design readout integrated circuits (ROICs) that collect, skim, and arrange the current from each pixel in the microbolometer’s array to deliver a useful video signal.
Since the operating temperature range and power consumption are critical to any heat-sensitive electronic device, and, especially, compact devices, ULIS’ ROICs have been fine-tuned to operate over a wide range of temperatures. They require less energy than other sensors.
For example, our 80 x 80 sensor requires only 25 mW at a frame rate of 50 Hz, working over operating temperatures from -40 °C to 85 °C; the power requirements for 640x480 and 1024x768 sensors are equally low at less than 150 mW and 170 mW, respectively.
Microbolometers convert long-wave infrared radiation into current. ULIS has a broad, in-depth knowledge of pixel-based microbolometer materials and MEMS design at all stages from development to manufacturing. Our bolometer material, characterized by a reduced thermal time constant (≤ 10 ms), is less sensitive to the smearing effect that often appears when fast-moving objects are imaged; the material also enables operation at a higher frame rate (up to 120 Hz in some cases).
Thermal sensors must be insulated from the surrounding environment in order to be sensitive only to the infrared radiation coming from the scene. ULIS uses vacuum packaging techniques to isolate the bolometer chip from its environment. And, because the MEMS microbolometer material used by ULIS generates no variations, all pixels present identical temperature behavior.
ULIS pioneered TEC-less systems when it first introduced ceramic vacuum technology in 2006. We can also implement other vacuum packaging techniques in house; these include our unique wafer-level package (patented under “pixel-level package”) that creates a single vacuum cap on each pixel.
TEC-less systems plus predictable MEMS behavior drastically reduce system calibration time and the associated power consumption, for lower total cost of ownership
To be integrated into a system, vacuum thermal chips must be embedded in a final package.
ULIS possesses substantial know-how in final packaging, simplifying system assembly with standard socket and surface mounted techniques.
Plus, all ULIS thermal sensors are TEC-less-optimized for a wide range of operating temperatures (-40 °C to over 85 °C) for decades-long mean time to failure, in some cases backed by up to a ten-year warranty.
ULIS thermal sensors are used in a wide range of situations. Therefore, we take into account a variety of environmental and lifecycle factors to validate our products and estimate product reliability and lifetimes.
Over time, we have constantly improved our product validation and reliability prediction process, integrating mathematical models of stresses (mechanical, thermal, temperature, duration of use, humidity, and power cycling) affecting product lifetime.
Our thermal sensor manufacturing process includes in-line quality testing and controls (Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis plus statistical process control). We also use standard quality assurance tools such as 8D to manage and correct any issues that arise.
Our expertise in product qualification and quality control processes allows us to deliver ruggedized products with decades-long mean time to failure, warranties of up to ten years and lower return rates.