Princeton Infrared Technologies, Inc. (PIRT) is a fabless infrared company focused on design, test, and final assembly of infrared imaging and detection products specializing in InGaAs detector arrays. These detector materials are used to detect light beyond what our eyes see in the Near Infrared as well as Short Wave Infrared (900 nm-1700 nm) versus visible light (400-750 nm). Detectors and cameras are similar to cell phone cameras except they see infrared light that our human eyes do not see. There are numerous applications for imaging and detecting light beyond what humans can image with our eyes including applications that need to detect moisture, temperature, or specific laser wavelengths, i.e. laser designators for dropping bombs and eye-safe lasers used in range finders.

InGaAs is fabricated in what is called a “III-V semiconductor fab” which is very similar to where they manufacture silicon integrated circuits for computer chips, but the manufacturing plant is for different materials than Silicon like InGaAs or GaAs. PIRT will leverage the many larger III-V fabrication facilities that are now capable of building InGaAs detector arrays. This will be a significant cost driver since todays InGaAs imager producers currently maintain their own semiconductor fabrication facility, which are only at partial capacity due to the relatively small volumes being sold resulting in higher cost. In addition, PIRT will leverage new hybridization technology enabling hybridization on a much smaller pixel pitch (2-4x smaller) than is currently being used in the industry. Pixels are the picture elements in the infrared detector arrays similar to pixels in your camera phone. The pitch describes the spacing from center to center of each pixel. The small pixel pitch will enable many more chips on each wafer to be manufactured thus further reducing the cost of the devices. Smaller cameras leads to smaller optics, overall device sizes, and weight, resulting in even lower costs.

PIRT will focus on two-dimensional arrays and cameras created in our fabless environment. Almost all silicon semiconductor companies have moved to this model, especially if they don’t have the ability to fill your fab with work orders. Even Intel is looking to fill its lines with outside work from Apple. The long wave infrared microbolometer market has also moved to this model to serve the military market as seen from press releases from DRS with Cypress Semiconductor and FLIR with AMI.