Abstract

Modern space-borne infrared systems require uncooled detectors sensitive to long wavelength radiation from 8 μ to 40 μ. The thermal detectors, such as thermistor and metal film bolometers, and radiation thermocouples are most practical. It is shown that the thermocouple detector has certain characteristics which make it particularly attractive for space-borne use. Chief among these is the fact that it has inherent dc stability and therefore does not require optical modulation. This permits systems to be designed with no moving parts. A technique is described for the construction of rugged thermocouple and thermopile detectors by vacuum deposition of evaporated materials through masks onto a solid substrate. This technique permits quantity production of complex detector element arrays that can survive and operate in severe military and space environments. A brief theoretical analysis of the performance to be expected from the new design is given and the properties of several configurations which have been fabricated are described. A discussion is included of some application considerations for use of these detectors.

© 1964 Optical Society of America

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