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Thursday, 2 June 2011

The fine art of etching

June 1, 2011

They see more than the naked eye and could make traffic safer: miniaturized thermal imaging sensors. But they are difficult to manufacture on a commercial scale. Researchers have now developed a new system. On it, special micro-electromechanical systems can be produced – with the correct etching technique.

A winding country road. It is dark, and a thick ground fog has settled in. The driver of a car cautiously enters the next curve, when suddenly a caution lamp flashes – a fallen motorcycle rider lies on the street. Thanks to the intelligent assistant, the driver has been warned and is able to brake in time. Infrared cameras see more than the naked eye and could make traffic safer. Indeed, thermal imaging cameras are already used in certain applications – in the construction industry and the military, for example. Such infrared cameras, however, are hardly available in the mobile area, for example in automotive safety systems. The reason: long-range infrared microsensors are currently difficult to produce commercially.
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