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Opto-Electronics Review

Editor-in-Chief: Jaroszewicz, Leszek

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Volume 22, Issue 1


Microthermomechanical infrared sensors

M. Steffanson
  • Dept. of Microelectronic and Nanoelectronic Systems, Ilmenau University of Technology, PO-BOX 100565, 98684, Ilmenau, Germany
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/ I. Rangelow
  • Dept. of Microelectronic and Nanoelectronic Systems, Ilmenau University of Technology, PO-BOX 100565, 98684, Ilmenau, Germany
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Published Online: 2013-12-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11772-014-0176-0


We present a state-of-the-art overview of microthermomechanical infrared sensor technology. The working principle of this sensor is based on a bi-material actuated micromechanical deflection, generated by an induced temperature rise due to incident infrared radiation absorption. In order to generate a thermal image the thermomechanical deflections of the freestanding microstructures are read by either capacitive, piezoresistive or optical means. Research and development activities in this field began in the early 1990s. The development of this technology within the last 20 years has resulted in innovations such as uncooled multiband infrared detection, high-speed infrared sensing and uncooled THz imaging. This paper outlines representative milestones of this technology and analyses important results of notable groups. Significant activities on capacitive and optical readout techniques of thermomechanical infrared arrays are presented. Furthermore the advantages of microthermomechanical infrared sensors over current well-established uncooled infrared technologies are summarized. In conclusion the latest developments of this technology offer a highly potential solution for a variety of important energy-saving, safety and security applications.

Keywords: infrared; microcantilever; micromirror; thermal detector; photomechanical; optomechanical; thermomechanical; FPA; optical readout

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-29

Published in Print: 2014-03-01

Citation Information: Opto-Electronics Review, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 1–15, ISSN (Online) 1896-3757, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11772-014-0176-0.

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