High-performance infrared thermoelectric bolometers based on nanomembranes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


The state-of-the-art infrared (IR) photodetectors are either thermal detectors (bolometers) or quantum detectors (photovoltaic and photoconductive detectors). Compared to quantum IR photodetectors, IR bolometers are slower and less sensitive but in turn, they offer lower cost without need for cooling and exotic materials (e.g. HgCdTe). Phonon/photon engineered materials offer interesting routes for enhancing room-temperature IR bolometers. We have recently demonstrated experimentally a nano-thermoelectric bolometer for long-wave IR detection. The technology utilizes efficient thermoelectric transducers based on silicon nanomembranes, which have an enhanced thermoelectric figure of merit arising from the low thermal conductivity stemming from the nano-scale thickness. For the absorption of the IR radiation the nano-thermoelectric bolometer utilizes a nanomembrane based quarter-wave resistive absorber, which is also known as the Salisbury screen. The use of nanomembranes in both the thermoelectric transducer and the absorber results in a very small thermal mass, and thereby high speed for the detector. In this article, we present an analytical model for quarter-wave resistive absorbers (i.e. Salisbury screens). It can be applied both in radio frequency (RF) and optical applications. The results of the analytical model are compared with the ones obtained with the transfer-matrix method using the optical material data available in the literature. We present also a device model of the nano-thermoelectric IR detector and estimate the full performance of this technology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotonic and Phononic Properties of Engineered Nanostructures X
EditorsAli Adibi, Shawn-Yu Lin, Axel Scherer
PublisherInternational Society for Optics and Photonics SPIE
ISBN (Print)978-1-5106-3341-4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventPhotonic and Phononic Properties of Engineered Nanostructures X 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 3 Feb 20206 Feb 2020

Publication series

SeriesProceedings of SPIE


ConferencePhotonic and Phononic Properties of Engineered Nanostructures X 2020
Abbreviated titleSPIE OPTO 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Infrared
  • Nanomembrane
  • Quarter-wave resistive absorber
  • Salisbury screen
  • Silicon
  • Thermoelectric
  • Uncooled detector


Dive into the research topics of 'High-performance infrared thermoelectric bolometers based on nanomembranes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this