This paper reports the design, fabrication, characterization, and noise reduction of metasurface based uncooled infrared microbolometers with focus on device architecture. Two designs are investigated. In the first design, the devices are fabricated with the legs positioned underneath the microbolometer pixel. This is facilitated by the use of the metasurface which removes the need for a Fabry-Perot 1/4 cavity. Placing the legs underneath the pixel permits longer legs without sacrificing fill factor and raises the thermal resistance between the microbolometer and the substrate. The metasurface potentially allows spectrally dependent IR absorption. The second design extends this architecture to include a second microbolometer suspended above the first microbolometer to form a single pixel. Metasurfaces on each microbolometer can be designed to capture a portion of the spectrum with the combined structure maximizing the total absorptance across the Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) band. The TCR and resistivity are measured on the fabricated devices with and without the addition of the metasurface for both designs. The metasurface produces a slight increase in the TCR 5% to 12% and a dramatic reduction in the resistivity (>5×) which leads to a two order of magnitude reduction in the microbolometer noise voltage Power Spectral Density (PSD) after annealing in vacuum. The measured single cavity microbolometer has a voltage responsivity of 4.1×104 V/W and detectivity of 3.57×108 cm·Hz1/2/W.
This paper presents a study of metasurface integrated microbolometers. The semiconductor absorber is sandwiched between a metal Frequency-Selective Surface (FSS) and ground plane. When the semiconductor absorber is electrically isolated from the ground plane by a thin dielectric it can be used to measure the temperature of the pixel. The integration with the FSS removes the need for a Fabry-Perot cavity. The FSS allows control the attributes of radiation absorbed by the microbolometer on a pixel-by-pixel basis which provides the potential for spectral or polarimetric imaging. The FSS also affects he electrical performance of the semiconductor absorber and the thermal performance of the microbolometer. In addition, the complex permittivity of the semiconductor affects the optimal design of the FSS. The Si/Ge/O system is selected because it allows the properties of the absorber to be engineered (e.g., less oxygen gives lower absorptance and higher resistivity). This paper explores the absorber/FSS parameter space with an emphasis on the electrical and noise properties of the integrated system. Models are developed to explain results. Preliminary results show that the addition of the FSS improves TCR of the microbolometer by 10% while dramatically lowering its resistivity (factor of 5×). The resistivity reduction leads to a dramatic reduction of the noise power spectral density with the addition of FSS improving the measured 1/f noise by two orders of magnitude over an identical sample without the FSS. In addition, this paper will present the microbolometer figures of merits including voltage responsivity, detectivity, and thermal response time.