The measurement of thermal radiation from ambient-temperature objects using short-wave infrared detectors and regular glass optics is described. The detectors are chosen to operate in the 2.0 µm to 2.5 µm atmospheric window. Selection of detectors with high shunt resistance along with the 4-stage thermo-electric cooling of the detectors to -85 °C results in detectivity, D*, of 4×1013 cm Hz1/2/W which is near the background limited performance at 295 K. Furthermore, the use of regular-glass commercial optics to collect the thermal radiation results in diffraction-limited imaging. The use of a radiation thermometer constructed with these elements for the measurement of a blackbody from 20 °C to 50 °C results in noise-equivalent temperature difference (NETD) of <3 mK at 50 °C. The operation at shorter wavelengths than traditional thermal sensors also leads to lower sensitivity to the emissivity of the object in determining the temperature of the object. These elements are used to construct a calibrator for an infrared collimator, and such a system demonstrates noise-equivalent irradiances of <5 fW/cm2. These results indicate that radiometers using short-wave infrared sensors could be constructed utilizing commercial glass optics with possible better performance and lower NETD than existing radiometers using cryogenically-cooled mid-infrared or thermal infrared detectors.
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