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NIST Docket Number: 98-029US.
Title: Method And Apparatus For Bias And Readout Of Bolometers Operated On A Hysteretic Metal-Insulator Transition.
Abstract: This invention consists of a bias and readout scheme for resistive bolometers. It is chiefly intended for use with bolometer materials which exhibit a phase transition that is hysteretic. The most obvious example of such a bolometer material is vanadium dioxide, which has a metal-semiconductor phase transition at 68 degrees Celsius and a hysteresis of typically 5 degrees Celsius depending on material preparation. The existence of hysteresis precludes the use of a conventional DC bias or a conventional pulsed bias in a bolometer operated on the phase transition. In the technique we are disclosing, the bias consists of an AC current. (This is for phase transitions in which the resistance decreases with increasing temperature. For phase transitions in which the resistance increases with temperature, an AC voltage bias would be used.) The waveform of the AC bias consists of a short “reset” segment, in which the peak current is high enough to bring the bolometer completely into its metallic state, followed by a longer “data” segment, in which the bias current and bias power monotonically decrease, so as to sweep the bolometer's physical temperature downward across the phase transition. The frequency of the AC bias is determined by the condition that the slew rate in bias power during the data segment must always exceed the slew rate in signal power, for all signals of interest. The signal is read out by averaging the bolometer voltage over a time window lying entirely within the data segment. With this bias and readout scheme, the full slope of the bolometer R(T) characteristic is reflected in the output from small signals, which would not be the case for a conventional DC or pulsed bias scheme. Since the full slope of the R(T) characteristic is accessible, the bolometer can operate in the extreme electrothermal feedback regime, which provides major improvements in speed 1/f-noise, and sensitivity.Start Signature
Dated: April 3, 2001.
Karen H. Brown,
[FR Doc. 01-8767 Filed 4-9-01; 8:45 am]
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