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27 June 1997 Micromachined room-temperature microbolometer for millimeter-wave detection and focal-plane imaging arrays
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We have combined silicon micromachining technology with planar circuits to fabricated room-temperature niobium microbolometers for millimeter-wave detection. In this type of detector, a thin niobium film, with a dimension much smaller than the wavelength, is fabricated on a 1-micrometers thick Si3N4 membrane of square and cross geometries. The Nb film acts both as a radiation absorber and temperature sensor. Incident radiation is coupled into the microbolometer by a 0.37 (lambda) dipole antenna with a center frequency of 95 GHz and a 3-db bandwidth of 15%, which is impedance matched with the Nb film. The dipole antennas is placed inside a micromachined pyramidal cavity formed by anisotropically etched Si wafers. To increase the Gaussian beam coupling efficiency, a machined square or circular horn is placed in front of the micromachined section. Circular horns interface more easily with die-based manufacturing processes; therefore, we have developed simulation tools that allow us to model circular machined horns. We have fabricated both single element receivers and 3 X 3 focal-plane arrays using uncooled Nb microbolometers. An electrical NEP level of 8.3 X 10-11 W/(root)Hz has been achieved for a single- element receiver. This NEP level is better than that of the commercial room-temperature pyroelectric millimeter-wave detectors. The frequency response of the microbolometer has a ln(1/f) dependence with frequency, and the roll-off frequency is approximately 35 kHz.
© (1997) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Arifur Rahman, Erik K. Duerr, Gert de Lange, and Qing Hu "Micromachined room-temperature microbolometer for millimeter-wave detection and focal-plane imaging arrays", Proc. SPIE 3064, Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology, (27 June 1997);


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