Available Technology

Radiometer and method for use of same

This invention is a thermal detector for optical and infrared radiation. The basis of the detector is a multiwall carbon nanotube array operating as a bolometer on micromachined silicon. The multiwall carbon nanotube array is multifunctional: heater, thermometer and radiation absorber. The micromachined silicon is a multifunctional platform for electrical wiring and the detector’s heat link. The heater provides a means to calibrate the detector electrically (voltage applied). What is new is that the detector is produced using technology common to semiconductor manufacturing. Therefore, many duplicates or variations on a basic design can be produced on a relatively inexpensive silicon wafer. This approach may be scaled to other detector technology such as imaging arrays and multi-element sensors. It can work as a bolometer that manifests a change in electrical resistance as a function of temperature change. The temperature change may be either by optical (and infrared) absorption and heating or electrical heating. Therefore, the detector may be electrically calibrated and function as an optical detector. The invention solves the problem of disseminating high-accuracy and infrared measurement capability which is beneficial for industrial, scientific and defense applications, sensing visible and infrared radiation, thermal imaging, and other sensing.

Abstract: 

A radiometer includes a substrate; a radiation absorber disposed on the substrate to absorb radiation; a thermal member disposed on the substrate to change electrical resistance in response to a change in temperature of the radiometer; and a thermal link to connect the radiometer to a thermal reference, wherein the radiation absorber, the thermal member, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing includes a plurality of carbon nanotubes, the carbon nanotubes being mutually aligned with respect to the substrate, and the radiometer being configured to detect optical power.

Benefits: 

The detector is produced using technology common to semiconductor manufacturing. Therefore, many duplicates or variations on a basic design can be produced on a relatively inexpensive silicon wafer.

Inventors: 

John Lehman and Nathan Tomlin

Patent Number: 
9291499
Technology Type(s): 
homeland security, intelligent systems, laser and optics, laser applications, advanced manufacturing processes, manufacturing, electromagnetic, electron physics, electrons, nanometrology, nanotechnology, optical physics, optical sensor
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
16-026
Patent Issue Date: 
December 11, 2018
Lab Representatives
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