These days, when computational power and resources are widely available, it is commonplace to rely on numerical tools that have demonstrated their capabilities to simulate physical phenomena involving electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with materials. However, we should recall that the scientific method is based on the comparison of the outputs given by physical models to the results of measurements of those outputs. Furthermore, from an engineering point of view, simulation is just an extension of the design process, and only through measurement and testing can the fabricated devices reach their final realization. A well-executed measurement is always more certain than simulations and provides the true values of the physical parameters being analyzed. Therefore, all of our efforts to understand, model, and simulate how antennas behave within the IR/optical regime should be compared against the actual measurements of the as-fabricated devices.
In this chapter we explain how experimental conditions and setups have been adapted for the testing and evaluation of antenna-coupled sensors.
Characterization of antenna-coupled IR sensors falls into several categories: spatial, angular, spectral, and polarization response. Signal-to-noise ratio and specific detectivity are also of primary importance when characterizing optical antennas.
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