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Proceedings Paper

Investigation of MEMS bi-material sensors with metamaterial absorbers for THz imaging
Author(s): Fabio Alves; Dragoslav Grbovic; Gamani Karunasiri
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Paper Abstract

There has been a continued interest in the terahertz (THz) imaging due to penetration and non-ionizing properties. Realtime imaging in this spectral range has been demonstrated using infrared microbolometer technology with external illumination by quantum cascade lasers (QCL). However, to achieve high sensitivity, it is necessary to develop focal plane arrays using enhanced THz-absorbing materials. One attractive option to achieve real time THz imaging is MEMS bi-material sensor with embedded metamaterial absorbers, consisting of a periodic array of metallic squared elements separated from a homogeneous metallic ground plane by a dielectric layer. We have demonstrated that the metamaterial films can be designed using standard MEMS materials such as silicon oxide (SiOx), silicon oxinitrate (SiOxNy) and aluminum (Al), to achieve nearly 100 % resonant absorption matched to the illumination source, while providing structural support, desired thermomechanical properties and access to external optical readout. The metamaterial structure absorbs the incident THz radiation and transfers the heat to bi-material microcantilevers that are connected to the substrate, which acts as a heat sink, via thermal insulating legs. A temperature gradient builds up in the legs, allowing the overall structure to deform proportionally to the absorbed power. The amount of deformation can be probed by measuring the displacement of a laser beam reflected from the sensor’s metallic ground plane. Several sensor configurations have been designed, fabricated and characterized to optimize responsivity, speed of operation and minimize structural residual stress. Measured figures of merit indicate that the THz MEMS sensors have a great potential for real-time imaging.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 June 2014
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9083, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VI, 90830C (4 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2049854
Show Author Affiliations
Fabio Alves, Naval Postgraduate School (United States)
Dragoslav Grbovic, Naval Postgraduate School (United States)
Gamani Karunasiri, Naval Postgraduate School (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9083:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VI
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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