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Proceedings Paper

Ultra sensitive silicon sensor for passive millimeter wave imaging
Author(s): Nathan Bluzer
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Paper Abstract

The Ultra Sensitive Silicon Sensor1 is an all silicon bolometer that utilizing active thermal isolation to overcome limitations in conventional bolometers. Inherently, bolometers are slower and less sensitive than quantum detectors. However, because of low cost and room temperature operation, bolometers are being used in many cameras. IC technology used for producing staring focal planes has ameliorated the bolometer's slow speed and lower sensitivity issues. Better thermal isolation and thermal responsivity materials have yielded significant sensitivity improvements. Currently, LWIR bolometer's sensitivity is about 10X below the theoretical limit. Achieving theoretical sensitivity will greatly increase the application sphere of bolometer cameras. Theoretically, performance improvements are possible with better thermal isolation, better thermal responsivity, and a faster time constant. Examining these limitations has allowed us to formulate solutions to these problems and open the opportunity for application of bolometers to MMwave imaging. Large (10X) sensitivity improvements are possible by replacing passive thermal isolation with active thermal isolation. Active thermal isolation utilizes electro-thermal feedback to greatly improve thermal isolation and this leads directly to corresponding responsivity improvements. Improved thermal isolation does increase the thermal time constant, however, this increase is offset by using microantennas and/or microlenses. A detail analysis is presented on the theoretical operation of the all silicon USSS bolometer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 May 2006
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 6211, Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology IX, 62110H (19 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.669667
Show Author Affiliations
Nathan Bluzer, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Sector (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6211:
Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology IX
Roger Appleby; David A. Wikner, Editor(s)

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