MWIR & LWIR cooled cores

What are MWIR & LWIR cooled cores?

A cooled thermal core is a camera engine that consists of:

  • A MWIR or LWIR Stirling cooled detector (or DDCA – Detector Dewar Cooler Assembly)
  • Electronics for interfacing and on-board image processing
  • A mechanical frame
  • A zoom lens (optionally)

Cooled MWIR cores consist typically of a MCT (Mercury Cadmium Telluride), InSb (Indium Antimonide) or T2SL (Type 2 – superlattice) detector, all operating in the 3 to 5 µm mid-wave thermal band. 

Cooled LWIR cores are less common and more expensive. They consists typically of a MCT (Mercury Cadmium Telluride) or QWIP (Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector) operating in the 8 to 12 µm long wave thermal band.

What are MWIR & LWIR cooled cores used for?

MWIR & LWIR thermal imagers are used to detect heat sources (vehicles, people, …). Compared to uncooled thermal imagers, a cooled thermal camera offers better sensitivity (lower NETD), higher frame rates and smaller pixel pitches. Therefore, a cooled core will offer superior image quality and is better suited for long range imaging applications. On the downside, a cooled core will come at a significantly higher cost compared to an uncooled LWIR core.

Cooled thermal imaging cores are typically used with long focal length (zoom) lenses for long range security and night vision applications. The compact cooled thermal camera cores are ideal for gimbals, security and surveillance products and thermal weapon sights.

A cooled LWIR core offers advantages over a MWIR core for detecting relatively cool targets against a cold background.

What do we offer?

We offer the XCO-640. This stirling cooled MWIR core is equipped with built-in image processing features. These features consist of autogain, automatic exposure control and contrast enhancement for excellent image quality. As our customers integrate the camera cores into their systems, we offer a variety of interfaces for an easy integration. Next to that our XCO-640 is equipped with long focal length (zoom) lenses for long range applications.

What features are needed?

  • Small pixel size
    A smaller pixel size results in smaller detectors - resulting in lower sensor production costs, smaller optics and eventually smaller cameras
  • High thermal sensitivity
    Thermal cameras need to have a high sensitivity level (low NETD) to detect the smallest temperature differences
  • F numbers allowing for smaller, lighter and cheaper optics
    The lens diameter is mainly determined by the F number and the focal length. Long range lenses have a typical F number ≥ 4, therefore, a matching detector aperture (≥4) is needed
  • Advanced image processing for high quality images day and night
    Autogain, automatic exposure control and contrast enhancement result in the best image quality in any condition
  • Long range zoom lenses
    We offer two different zoom lenses, 15-330 mm and 30-660 mm, for long range surveillance

Are you looking for more information? 

Let us know. We are happy to help.

Contact us


Press Releases
Xenics sees strong growth ahead for OEM module business The OEM module business will grow strongly, especially in the security market. That is why we target the security market with our XenicsCores (2014)
Xenics at SPIE DSS 2011: high performance infrared OEM modules for easy integration We offer high resolution infrared OEM modules in both SWIR (XSW-640) as LWIR (XTM-640) (2011)
New Stirling cooled MWIR imaging core available Xenics, Europe's leading developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors, cameras and customized imaging solutions from the LWIR to the visible realm, introduces the third member of its high-resolution 'Xenics Core' Infrared OEM product family. The new Stirling-cooled XCO-640 MWIR module provides unprecedented stability and optical performance for perimeter surveillance, law enforcement and homeland security.

Thermal Imagers in mobile systems for Security & Safety Market

It was a challenge to produce a mobile system for border control in just 6 months, but with Xenics as a partner we could apply for this project.

Ivica Mijić, Audio-Video Trend