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This paper describes the design and performances of a novel focal-plane array (FPA) containing pixels of double bimaterial-layer cantilevers without silicon (Si) substrate for being applied in the uncooled optical-readable infrared (IR) imaging system. The top layer of the cantilever pixels is made of two materials with large mismatching thermal expansion coefficients: silicon nitride (SiNx) and gold (Au), which convert IR heat into mechanical deflection. The bottom layer is SiNx cantilever, which partially serves thermal isolation legs. The top and bottom pads form the resonant cavity, which can dramatically enhance the absorption of incident IR irradiation, and the substrate-free configuration enables reducing the loss of incident IR energy. Responding to the IR source with spectral range from 8 to 14 mum, the IR imaging system may receive an IR images through visible optical readout method. A thermal-mechanical model for such cantilever microstructure is proposed, and the thermal and thermal-mechanical coupling field characteristics of the cantilever microstructure are optimized through numerical analysis method and simulation by using the finite-element method. The thermal-mechanical deflection simulated is 7.2 mum/K, generally in good agreement with what the thermal-mechanical model and numerical analysis forecast. The analysis suggests that the detection resolution of current design is 0.03 K, whereas the noise analysis from FPA indicates the current resolution to be around 100 muK and the limit noise-equivalent temperature difference (NETD) of the IR imaging system can reach to 7 mK.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2007