MEMS terahertz-to-infrared band converter using frequency selective planar metamaterial
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A MEMS terahertz-to-infrared converter has been developed based on the unique properties of metamaterials that allow for selective control of the absorptivity and emissivity of the sensors. The converter consists of a sensing element structurally made of planar metamaterial membranes, connected to a substrate frame by four symmetrically-located thermal insulators. Upon THz absorption, the temperature of the sensing element increases and the outward infrared flux from the backside of the element is read by a commercial long-wave infrared camera. Two configurations were designed and fabricated with metamaterial absorptivity optimized for 3.8 THz and 4.75 THz quantum cascade lasers. The first sensor, fabricated with an oxidized aluminum backside, exhibits higher responsivity, but lower conversion efficiency than the second sensor, fabricated with a metamaterial backside. The spectral characteristics of the metamaterial on the two sides can be optimized to improve both responsivity and sensitivity, while keeping the sensors’ thermal time constant sufficiently small for real time imaging. No dedicated electronics or optics are required for readout making metamaterial-based MEMS THz-to-IR converters very attractive for THz imaging as means of a simple attachment to commercial IR cameras.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-30858-z
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