18 May 2017 Uncooled Terahertz real-time imaging 2D arrays developed at LETI: present status and perspectives
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Abstract
As for other imaging sensor markets, whatever is the technology, the commercial spread of terahertz (THz) cameras has to fulfil simultaneously the criteria of high sensitivity and low cost and SWAP (size, weight and power). Monolithic silicon-based 2D sensors integrated in uncooled THz real-time cameras are good candidates to meet these requirements. Over the past decade, LETI has been studying and developing such arrays with two complimentary technological approaches, i.e. antenna-coupled silicon bolometers and CMOS Field Effect Transistors (FET), both being compatible to standard silicon microelectronics processes. LETI has leveraged its know-how in thermal infrared bolometer sensors in developing a proprietary architecture for THz sensing. High technological maturity has been achieved as illustrated by the demonstration of fast scanning of large field of view and the recent birth of a commercial camera. In the FET-based THz field, recent works have been focused on innovative CMOS read-out-integrated circuit designs. The studied architectures take advantage of the large pixel pitch to enhance the flexibility and the sensitivity: an embedded in-pixel configurable signal processing chain dramatically reduces the noise. Video sequences at 100 frames per second using our 31x31 pixels 2D Focal Plane Arrays (FPA) have been achieved. The authors describe the present status of these developments and perspectives of performance evolutions are discussed. Several experimental imaging tests are also presented in order to illustrate the capabilities of these arrays to address industrial applications such as non-destructive testing (NDT), security or quality control of food.
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François Simoens, Jérôme Meilhan, Laurent Dussopt, Jean-Alain Nicolas, Nicolas Monnier, Gilles Sicard, Alexandre Siligaris, Bruno Hiberty, "Uncooled Terahertz real-time imaging 2D arrays developed at LETI: present status and perspectives", Proc. SPIE 10194, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IX, 101942N (18 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2263221; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2263221
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