An 80x80 Microbolometer Type Thermal Imaging Sensor using the LWIR-Band CMOS Infrared (CIR) Technology

Tankut F., Cologlu M. H., Askar H., Ozturk H., Dumanli H. K., Oruc F., ...More

Conference on Infrared Technology and Applications XLIII, California, United States Of America, 9 - 13 April 2017, vol.10177 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 10177
  • Doi Number: 10.1117/12.2275161
  • City: California
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Keywords: Microbolometer, low-cost thermal imaging, uncooled thermal imaging, CMOS Infrared (CIR) Technology, MEMS, LWIR, thermal cameras, readout integrated circuit (ROIC)
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper introduces an 80x80 microbolometer array with a 35 mu m pixel pitch operating in the 8-12 aem wavelength range, where the detector is fabricated with the LWIR-band CMOS infrared technology, shortly named as CIR, which is a novel microbolometer implementation technique developed to reduce the detector cost in order to enable the use of microbolometer type sensors in high volume markets, such as the consumer market and IoT. Unlike the widely used conventional surface micromachined microbolometer approaches, MikroSens' CIR detector technology does not require the use of special high TCR materials like VOx or a-Si, instead, it allows to implement microbolometers with standard CMOS layers, where the suspended bulk micromachined structure is obtained by only few consecutive selective MEMS etching steps while protecting the wirebond pads with a simple lithograpy step. This approach not only reduces the fabrication cost but also increases the production yield. In addition, needing simple subtractive post-CMOS fabrication steps allows the CIR technology to be carried out in any CMOS and MEMS foundry in a truly fabless fashion, where industrially mature and Au-free wafer level vacuum packaging technologies can also be carried out, leading to cost advantage, simplicity, scalability, and flexibility. The CIR approach is used to implement an 80x80 FPA with 35 mu m pixel pitch, namely MS0835A, using a 0.18 mu m CMOS process. The fabricated sensor is measured to provide NETD (Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference) value of 163 mK at 17 fps (frames per second) and 71 mK at 4 fps with F/1.0 optics in a dewar environment. The measurement results of the wafer level vacuum packaged sensors with one side AR coating shows an NETD values of 112 mK at 4 fps with F/1.1 optics, i.e., demonstrates a good performance for high volume low-cost applications like advanced presence detection and human counting applications. The CIR approach of MikroSens is scalable and can be used to reduce the pixel pitch even further while increasing the array size if necessary for various other low-cost, high volume applications.