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Uncooled IR Photon Detection Using MEMS Micro-Structures
OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LAB TN
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Generation of free charge carriers in a semiconductor gives rise to mechanical stress. Photoinduced stress phenomena in MEMS micro-structures can be used in the room temperature detection of infrared photons. Choice of the appropriate semiconductor material for the MEMS micro-structure the determines the cutoff wavelength of the uncooled infrared photon detector. We have measured the deflection of silicon and indium antimonide microstructures resulting from a photo-induced stress. The excess charge carriers responsible for the photo-induced stress, were produced via photon irradiation from both a diode laser and a black body source. In the case of Si, the photo-induced stress is of opposite direction and about four times larger than the thermal stress. For indium antimonide the direction of stress is the same as due to thermal effects. The photo induced stress can be distinguished from the thermal stress based on the cut-off wavelength, response speed, and perhaps the direction of the microstructure deflection.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE