Investigation of MEMS bi-material sensors with metamaterial absorbers for THz imaging
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There has been a continued interest in the terahertz (THz) imaging due to penetration and non-ionizing properties. Real- time imaging in this spectral range has been demonstrated using infrared microbolometer technology with external illumination by quantum cascade lasers (QCL). However, to achieve high sensitivity, it is necessary to develop focal plane arrays using enhanced THz-absorbing materials. One attractive option to achieve real time THz imaging is MEMS bi-material sensor with embedded metamaterial absorbers, consisting of a periodic array of metallic squared elements separated from a homogeneous metallic ground plane by a dielectric layer. We have demonstrated that the metamaterial films can be designed using standard MEMS materials such as silicon oxide (SiOx), silicon oxinitrate (SiOxNy) and aluminum (Al), to achieve nearly 100 % resonant absorption matched to the illumination source, while providing structural support, desired thermomechanical properties and access to external optical readout. The metamaterial structure absorbs the incident THz radiation and transfers the heat to bi-material microcantilevers that are connected to the substrate, which acts as a heat sink, via thermal insulating legs. A temperature gradient builds up in the legs, allowing the overall structure to deform proportionally to the absorbed power. The amount of deformation can be probed by measuring the displacement of a laser beam reflected from the sensor’s metallic ground plane. Several sensor configurations have been designed, fabricated and characterized to optimize responsivity, speed of operation and minimize structural residual stress. Measured figures of merit indicate that the THz MEMS sensors have a great potential for real-time imaging.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2049854
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Investigation of microelectromechanical systems bimaterial sensors with metamaterial absorbers for terahertz imaging Alves, Fabio; Grbovic, Dragoslav; Karunasiri, Gamani (SPIE, 2014-09);One attractive option to achieve real-time terahertz (THz) imaging is a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) bimaterial sensor with embedded metamaterial absorbers. We have demonstrated that metamaterial films can be ...
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