Abstract

Diffraction gratings integrated with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors offer displacement measurements with subnanometer sensitivity. However, the sensitivity of the interferometric readout may drop significantly based on the gap between the grating and the reference surface. A two- wavelength (2λ) readout method was previously tested using a single MEMS sensor for illustrating increased displacement measurement capability. This work demonstrates sensitivity enhancement on a sensor array with large scale parallelization (20,000 sensors). The statistical representation, which is developed to model sensitivity enhancement within a grating based sensor array, is supported by experimental results using a thermal sensor array. In the experiments, two lasers at different wavelengths (633 and 650 nm) illuminate the thermal sensor array from the backside, time-sequentially. The diffracted first order light from the array is imaged onto a single CCD camera. The target scene is reconstructed by observing the change in the first diffracted order diffraction intensity for both wavelengths. Merging of the data from two measurements with two lasers was performed by taking the larger of the two CCD measurements with respect to the reference image for each sensor. 30% increase in the average sensitivity was demonstrated for a 160×120 pixel IR sensor array. Proposed architecture is also applicable to a variety of sensing applications, such as parallel biosensing and atomic force microscopy, for improved displacement measurements and enhanced sensitivity.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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