Broadband absorption enhancement in an uncooled microbolometer infrared detector
This paper introduces a method for a broadband absorption enhancement in the LWIR range (8-12 μm), in single layer microbolometer pixels with 35 μm pitch. For the first time in the literature, this study introduces a very simple and low cost approach to enhance the absorption by embedding plasmonic structures at the same level as the already existing metallic layer of a microbolometer pixel. The metal layer comprises the electrode and the arm structures on the body. Even though the periodicity of the plasmonic structures is slightly disturbed by the placement of the electrodes and the connecting metal, the metal arms and the electrodes compensate for the lack of the periodicity contributing to the resonance by their coupling with the individual plasmonic resonators. Various plasmonic structures are designed with FDTD simulations. Individual, plasmonically modified microbolometer pixels are fabricated, and an increase in the average absorption due to surface plasmon excitation at Au/Si3N4 interfaces is observed. Plasmonic structures increase the average absorption from 78% to 82% and result in an overall enhancement of 5.1%. A good agreement between the simulation and the FTIR measurement results are obtained within the LWIR range. This work paves the way for integration of the plasmonic structures within conventional microbolometer devices for performance enhancement without introducing additional costs.