Midwave thermal infrared detection using semiconductor selective absorption

Ryan P. Shea, Anand S. Gawarikar, Joseph J. Talghader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The performance of thermal detectors is derived for devices incorporating materials with non-uniform spectral absorption. A detector designed to have low absorption in the primary thermal emission band at a given temperature will have a background-limited radiation noise well below that of a blackbody absorber, which is the condition typically assessed for ultimate thermal detector performance. Specific examples of mid-wave infrared (λ ∼ 3-5μm) devices are described using lead selenide as a primary absorber with optical cavity layers that maximize coupling. An analysis of all significant noise sources is presented for two example room-temperature devices designed to have detectivities up to 4.37×1010 cm Hz1/2 W -1, which is a factor 3.1 greater than the traditional blackbody limit. An alternative method of fabricating spectrally selective devices by patterning a plasmonic structure in silver is also considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22833-22841
Number of pages9
JournalOptics Express
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 25 2010


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