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Sofradir, IR imaging specialist expands

Sofradir’s head office will relocate to Palaiseau, near Paris, together with the infrared technology production and research facilities acquired from Sagem and Thales
Sofradir,a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for multiple military, space, commercial and scientific applications, has announced it will transfer its headquarters to Palaiseau on the Plateau de Saclay, a long-established and growing hi-tech center for materials and optics research in the Paris region. The relocation is a result of Sofradir’s need to expand and increase production. It will install the manufacturing and research facilities of three of its infrared technologies under a single roof by spring 2014.

Palaiseau is in close proximity to many technological research institutions and scientific universities that are among the best in Europe and hi-tech companies. At the new 4,000 square meter site, Sofradir will create its second technological center, focused on advanced infrared imaging technologies. It aims to duplicate the same high-level research and innovation it achieves at its main production plant near Grenoble, France; a city Forbes Magazine ranked the fifth most innovative in the world.

“At the new Palaiseau headquarters, Sofradir will be looking to achieve technological leadership across our whole arsenal of IR technologies,” said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO of Sofradir. “We aim to replicate the environment in Grenoble, with the close relationships between industry, universities and research centers that have been key to the successful innovations we’ve accomplished using the single high performance IR detector technology we have owned for the last 25 years. I am proud that we will take an active part in the expansion of the science and technology cluster in Palaiseau.”

In December 2012, Sofradir announced consolidated ownership of all major infrared technologies used in the manufacture of IR detectors by acquiring three key infrared technologies from its parent companies, Sagem and Thales, and a lab called GIE III-V: Indium Antimonide (InSb), Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) and Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP). “With the addition of these new technologies and our second facilities in Palaiseau, Sofradir is aiming to be the global leader in infrared detectors” said Bensussan.

IR detectors are advanced technology components at the center of multiple military, space, commercial and scientific applications. Sofradir exports 80 per cent of its IR products for use in military equipment such as thermal imagers, missile seekers, surveillance systems, machine vision, targeting systems or observation satellites. It produced 6,000 IR detectors based on its flagship IR technology (Mercury Cadmium Telluride), the highest unit volume produced in this category.

“The performance and price of IR detectors are key to the competitiveness of optronics systems,” said Bensussan. “Giving our customers this competitive edge has always been the main driver of our technological developments. The powerful combination of IR technologies puts us in a far stronger position than ever. We’ll be able to offer customers the widest choice of IR product for any application across the whole spectrum from visible to very far infrared.”
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