Microbolometric Technology Review

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Nanjing University, China, publishes and MPDI review paper "Low-Cost Microbolometer Type Infrared Detectors" by Le Yu, Yaozu Guo, Haoyu Zhu, Mingcheng Luo, Ping Han, and Xiaoli Ji. The review belongs to "Miniaturized Silicon Photodetectors: New Perspectives and Applications" special issue.

"The complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) microbolometer technology provides a low-cost approach for the long-wave infrared (LWIR) imaging applications. The fabrication of the CMOS-compatible microbolometer infrared focal plane arrays (IRFPAs) is based on the combination of the standard CMOS process and simple post-CMOS micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) process. With the technological development, the performance of the commercialized CMOS-compatible microbolometers shows only a small gap with that of the mainstream ones. This paper reviews the basics and recent advances of the CMOS-compatible microbolometer IRFPAs in the aspects of the pixel structure, the read-out integrated circuit (ROIC), the focal plane array, and the vacuum packaging."

One interesting type of microbolometer is based on forward-biased SOI diodes:

"The typical value of the sensitivity for a single diode at 300 K is ~2 mV/K under a bias voltage of 0.6 V [59], which is equivalent to a temperature coefficient of only ~0.33%/K. However, as the number of the diodes in the series increases, the temperature coefficient could become comparable to the TCR of VOx. For instance, when n = 8, the diodes in series connection have a temperature coefficient of ~3%/K. Meanwhile, benefiting from the high uniformity of the CMOS process and the low defect density in the SOI film, the diode type microbolometer usually exhibits much better noise."

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