Investigation of MEMS bi-material sensors with metamaterial absorbers for THz imaging [video]
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There has been a continued interest in the terahertz (THz) imaging due to penetration through non-metallic objects and non-ionizing properties. Real-time imaging in this spectral range has been demonstrated using infrared microbolometer technology with external illumination provided 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 built with metamaterial absorbers, which consists 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 to exhibit nearly 100 % resonant absorption matched to the illumination source. These materials can also provide structural support, desired thermomechanical properties and access to external optical readout for fabricating bi-material THz sensors. Several sensor configurations have been designed, fabricated and characterized to optimize responsivity, speed of operation and minimize residual structural stress during MEMS fabrication. The details of the design, fabrication and characterization of bi-material THz sensors and their potential in real time imaging will be discussed in this presentation.
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