Glossary Definition

MCT Mercury Cadmium Telluride MWIR 3-5μm Cooled Thermal Sensor

Cooled Thermal Operating Temperatures


Mercury Cadmium Telluride is a type of thermal camera sensor. MCT sensors are a type of cooled thermal sensor with low SWAP characteristics.

The Low SWAP nature of these sensors has made them a top pick among space agencies. Where payload weight is critical.

Missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the famous Hubble Deep Space Telescope both use MCT sensor arrays.

The unique properties of MCT or HgCdTe make them tunable in the Midwave-Infrared Wavelength Range of 2.0 - 5.4 µm.

A downside of MCT sensors is that they must be Cryogenically cooled. However, they do not have to be cooled as much as InSb sensors.


Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) is a very important thermal detector material for MWIR Cooled thermal imaging. MCT Cooled (IR) detectors are used for military and scientific applications. Military applications include the use of IR detector focal plane arrays (FPA's) for night vision thermal imaging cameras for ISR and surveillance often using the MWIR 3-5um wave lengths, Scientific applications include IR detector arrays in telescope sensors for astronomy and IR detectors for spectrometers and radiometers. MCT requires less cooling compared to standard Indium antimonide (InSb) which means they can have a longer cooler lifetime.

Infiniti can use MCT or InSb sensor but for most applications we prefer to use the latest technology for our cameras which is our X-hot material as it provides many of the benefits of InSb and MCT but with improved reliability and 30% less cooling compared to MCT with improved resolution up to 5MP and smaller pixel pitch μm (size of the pixels) of 5μm and 10μm making it the best technology for long range surveillance and defense applications.

Learn more about thermal imaging:

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