Spectral selectivity in infrared thermal detection

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


A review is made of the physics and technology of spectrally selective thermal detectors, especially those operating at non-cryogenic temperatures. The background radiation noise fluctuations are rederived for arbitrary spectral characteristics. Infrared absorption due to phonons and free carriers is discussed followed by a review of published works on artificial infrared absorption materials such as patterned grids, nanoparticles, plasmonic structures, metamaterials and others. Subsequently, the literature of the spectral characteristics of broadband thermal detectors and spectrally selective thermal detectors is reviewed. Finally, the authors speculate on the directions that future research and development in the area will take regarding architectures, sensitivity and spectral characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere24
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue numberAUGUST
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge funding for the work described herein from DARPA, ARO, the Electro-Optics Center, and the University of Minnesota, particularly DARPA/ARO contract W911QX-12-C-0002. We would also like to thank the authors and publishers who kindly gave permission to their figures. Finally, we would like to thank Nibir Dhar, John Carrano, Ray Balcerak, Bill Clark, Joe Pelligrino and Andrew Wood for much useful advice over the years.


  • Infrared detectors
  • Infrared materials
  • Radiation noise
  • Thermal detectors


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