This paper reports on a novel technology for low-noise un-cooled detection of infrared (IR) radiation using a
combination of piezoelectric, pyroelectric, electrostrictive, and resonant effects. The architecture consists of a parallel
array of high-Q gallium nitride (GaN) micro-mechanical resonators coated with an IR absorbing nanocomposite. The
nanocomposite absorber converts the IR energy into heat with high efficiency. The generated heat causes a shift in
frequency characteristics of the GaN resonators because of pyroelectric effect. IR detection is achieved by sensing the
shift in the resonance frequency and amplitude of the exposed GaN resonator as compared to a reference resonator that is
included in the array. This architecture offers improved signal to noise ratio compared with conventional pyroelectric
detectors as the resonant effect reduces the background noise and improves sensitivity, enabling IR detection with
NEDTs below 5 mK at room temperature. GaN is chosen as the resonant material as it possesses high pyroelectric,
electrostrictive, and piezoelectric coefficients and can be grown on silicon substrates for low-cost batch fabrication.
Measured results of a GaN IR detector prototype and a thin-film nanocomposite IR absorber are presented in this paper.© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
"Gallium nitride micromechanical resonators for IR detection", Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 83731M (May 1, 2012); doi:10.1117/12.919941; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.919941