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An imaging detector’s ability to transduce the optical signal translates directly into system performance. Recent advances in detectors - particularly in uncooled microbolometers and silicon-based visible and NIR sensors - have enabled higher-quality imagery while simultaneously reducing package size and cost. This chapter reviews the fundamentals of both photon and thermal detection, compares CCD and CMOS sensors, reviews the microbolometer, and presents an overview of detector noise sources. References for further reading are provided at the end of the chapter.
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