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29 September 2006 High signal-to-noise ratio quantum well bolometer materials
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Novel single crystalline high-performance temperature sensing materials (quantum well structures) have been developed for the manufacturing of uncooled infrared bolometers. SiGe/Si and AlGaAs/GaAs quantum wells are grown epitaxially on standard Si and GaAs substrates respectively. The former use holes as charge carriers utilizing the discontinuities in the valence band structure, whereas the latter operate in a similar manner with electrons in the conduction band. By optimizing parameters such as the barrier height (by variation of the germanium/aluminium content respectively) and the fermi level Ef (by variation of the quantum well width and doping level) these materials provide the potential to engineer layer structures with a very high temperature coefficient of resistance, TCR, as compared with conventional thin film materials such as vanadium oxide and amorphous silicon. In addition, the high quality crystalline material promises very low 1/f-noise characteristics promoting an outstanding signal to noise ratio and well defined and uniform material properties, A comparison between the two (SiGe/Si and AlGaAs/GaAs) quantum well structures and their fundamental theoretical limits are discussed and compared to experimental results. A TCR of 2.0%/K and 4.5%/K have been obtained experimentally for SiGe/Si and AlGaAs/GaAs respectively. The noise level for both materials is measured as being several orders of magnitude lower than that of a-Si and VOx. These uncooled thermistor materials can be hybridized with read out circuits by using conventional flip-chip assembly or wafer level adhesion bonding. The increased bolometer performance so obtained can either be exploited for increasing the imaging system performance, i. e. obtaining a low NETD, or to reduce the vacuum packaging requirements for low cost applications (e.g. automotive).
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Stanley Wissmar, Linda Höglund, Jan Andersson, Christian Vieider, Susan Savage, and Per Ericsson "High signal-to-noise ratio quantum well bolometer materials", Proc. SPIE 6401, Optical Materials in Defence Systems Technology III, 64010N (29 September 2006);

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