Imaging Systems

Sensitivity of a vanadium oxide uncooled microbolometer array for terahertz imaging

[+] Author Affiliations
Matthew J. Coppinger

University of Delaware, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Newark, Delaware 19716

Nathan A. Sustersic

University of Delaware, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Newark, Delaware 19716

James Kolodzey

University of Delaware, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Newark, Delaware 19716

Toomas H. Allik

Active EO Inc., 903 Dalebrook Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22308

Opt. Eng. 50(5), 053206 (May 05, 2011). doi:10.1117/1.3574066
History: Received December 23, 2010; Accepted March 11, 2011; Revised March 11, 2010; Published May 05, 2011; Online May 05, 2011
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The broadband imaging capabilities of a vanadium oxide microbolometer camera were investigated in the far-infrared for applications in real-time terahertz imaging and analysis. To accomplish this, we used an optical configuration consisting of a broadband terahertz source, terahertz filtering optics, and a modified commercial broadband microbolometer camera. A blackbody radiator was employed as the broadband terahertz source to illuminate the microbolometer array with all components in a nitrogen purged enclosure. Data was taken using several different levels of radiant flux intensity. Optical filtering were necessary to isolate incident radiation frequencies into a band from 1.5 to 7.5 THz. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to characterize the transmission properties of each optical component. The noise equivalent differential temperature (NEDT) and the noise equivalent power (NEP) were recorded over a range of blackbody intensities. We discuss the relative utility of these two figures of merit for terahertz imaging. For example, at a blackbody temperature of 925°C the NEDT was recorded below 800 mK, and the NEP was calculated to be 136 pW/√Hz. This study provides a complete analysis of a microbolometer as the detector component of a terahertz imaging system in a broadband imaging configuration.

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© 2011 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

Citation

Matthew J. Coppinger ; Nathan A. Sustersic ; James Kolodzey and Toomas H. Allik
"Sensitivity of a vanadium oxide uncooled microbolometer array for terahertz imaging", Opt. Eng. 50(5), 053206 (May 05, 2011). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3574066


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