An Uncooled Microbolometer Focal Plane Array Using Heating Based Resistance Nonuniformity Compensation

Tepegoz M., Oguz A., Toprak A., Senveli S. U. , Canga E., Tanrikulu M. Y. , ...More

Conference on Infrared Technology and Applications XXXVIII, Maryland, United States Of America, 23 - 27 April 2012, vol.8353 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 8353
  • Doi Number: 10.1117/12.964525
  • City: Maryland
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper presents the performance evaluation of a unique method called heating based resistance nonuniformity compensation (HB-RNUC). The HB-RNUC method utilizes a configurable bias heating duration for each pixel in order to minimize the readout integrated circuit (ROIC) output voltage distribution range. The outputs of each individual pixel in a resistive type microbolometer differ from each other by a certain amount due to the resistance non-uniformity throughout the focal plane array (FPA), which is an inevitable result of the microfabrication process. This output distribution consumes a considerable portion of the available voltage headroom of the ROIC unless compensated properly. The conventional compensation method is using on-chip DACs to apply specific bias voltages to each pixel such that the output distribution is confined around a certain point. However, on-chip DACs typically occupy large silicon area, increase the output noise, and consume high power. The HB-RNUC method proposes modifying the resistances of the pixels instead of the bias voltages, and this task can be accomplished by very simple circuit blocks. The simplicity of the required blocks allows utilizing a low power, low noise, and high resolution resistance nonuniformity compensation operation. A 9-bit HB-RNUC structure has been designed, fabricated, and tested on a 384x288 microbolometer FPA ROIC on which 35 mu m pixel size detectors are monolithically implemented, in order to evaluate its performance. The compensation operation reduces the standard deviation of the ROIC output distribution from 470 mV to 9 mV under the same readout gain and bias settings. The analog heating channels of the HB-RNUC block dissipate around 4.1 mW electrical power in this condition, and the increase in the output noise due to these blocks is lower than 10%.