Today, both military and civilian applications require miniaturized and cheap optical systems. The miniaturization of imaging systems leads to breakthroughs in optical design. Multichannel systems, inspired by the compound eyes of insects, offer great opportunities as the principle is to divide the information contained in the whole scene into the different optical channels. An interesting approach is to take advantage of the infrared focal plane array technology and environment to integrate these systems near the detector, leading to very compact architectures. This paper presents a compact optical architecture based on a multichannel imaging system entirely integrated in the dewar used to cool the detector. This work gives encouraging results to prepare the next step in the miniaturization of optical systems, which is the integration of the imaging function directly on the focal plane array (wafer-level integration), leading to the design of an on-chip infrared camera.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.