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Optical Engineering

Characterization of a low-cost, commercially available, vanadium oxide microbolometer array for spectroscopic imaging
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Paper Abstract

Many long-wave infrared spectroscopic imaging applications are limited by the portability and cost of detector arrays. We present a characterization of a newly available, low-cost, uncooled vanadium oxide microbolometer array, the Seek Compact, in accordance with common infrared detector specifications: noise-equivalent differential temperature (NEDT), optical responsivity spectra, and Allan variance. The Compact’s imaging array consists of 156 × 206    pixels with a 12 - μ m pixel pitch, 93% of the pixels yield useful temperature readings. Characterization results show optical response between λ = 7.4 and 12    μ m with an NEDT of 148 mK (at 7    fps ). Comparing these results to a research-grade camera, the Seek Compact exhibits a 4 × and 48 × reduction in weight ( 2.0 / 0.5    lbs ) and cost ($12,000/$250) but takes 93 × longer to achieve the same NEDT ( 1.55    s / 16.6    ms for 45 mK). Additionally, a proof-of-concept spectral imaging experiment of SiN thin films is conducted. Leveraging this price reduction and spectroscopic imaging capability, the Seek Compact has potential in enabling field-deployable and distributed active midinfrared spectroscopic imaging, where cost and portability are the dominate inhibitors and high frame rates are not required.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 April 2017
PDF: 4 pages
Opt. Eng. 56(4) 040502 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.56.4.040502
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 56, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
David Benirschke, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)
Scott Howard, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)

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