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Proceedings Paper

Reaching for the sensitivity limits of uncooled and minimally cooled thermal and photon infrared detectors
Author(s): S. Horn; D. Lohrman; P. Norton; K. McCormack; A. Hutchinson
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Paper Abstract

Great incentive exists for the development of infrared detectors that can operate without cooling near the limit of photon or thermal fluctuations. Great progress has been made in past 30 years developing uncooled thermal detectors that now provide enough sensitivity for many routine infrared imaging needs, albeit with relatively slow response times. Even now, however, the sensitivity of uncooled thermal detectors is 3-15× less sensitive than the ideal characteristics predict. In this paper we first examine the current status of uncooled thermal detectors to understand the limiting mechanisms which appear to be 1/f noise and system noise. Approaches for developing uncooled or minimally-cooled photon detectors are then reviewed. A modification of one current approach, bias extraction of minority carriers, is suggested involving photo-JFETs rather than photodiodes. It appears that the most promising prospect for uncooled or minimally-cooled photon detectors is in the MWIR spectral region.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 May 2005
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5783, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXI, (31 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.609467
Show Author Affiliations
S. Horn, U. S. Army RDECOM, CERDEC, NVESD (United States)
D. Lohrman, U. S. Army RDECOM, CERDEC, NVESD (United States)
P. Norton, U. S. Army RDECOM, CERDEC, NVESD (United States)
K. McCormack, U. S. Army RDECOM, CERDEC, NVESD (United States)
A. Hutchinson, DARPA (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5783:
Infrared Technology and Applications XXXI
Bjorn F. Andresen; Gabor F. Fulop, Editor(s)

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