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MKS has announced the Ophir® LightIR 16-180mm Medium Wave Infrared (MWIR) f/3.6 continuous zoom lens, the newest addition to the LightIR family of lightweight, long-range, motorised continuous zoom lenses. This is a compact thermal imaging lens optimised for smaller size 10µm pitch VGA Focal Plane Array (FPA) detectors. It features a folded optics design that significantly reduces the length of the lens and therefore the overall size and weight of the optical system in which it is incorporated. The lens is 65 per cent smaller than existing MWIR 10µm VGA lenses. This makes it ideal for the demanding requirements of reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) and small gimbal thermal imaging applications. These include drones and tactical UAV IR cameras as well as micro-/mini-tactical payloads in the commercial, homeland security, and defence markets.

The folded optics design enables long optical lengths, which produce a reduced sensitivity to tolerances in compact configurations that incorporate fewer optical elements. The innovative design also enables near diffraction-limit performance in harsh environments and addresses such challenges as line-of-sight (LOS) stabilisation and athermalisation. At only 460gr, it is one of the lightest continuous zoom lenses on the market and maintains sharp focus over the entire zoom range. The mechanical and electrical interface assures easy integration into camera systems.