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Readout IC for bolometers

  • Infrared Image of a PC
  • CMOS Infrared Readout IC

There are wavelenghts which cannot be sensed directly by CMOS devices because, simply, silicon is transparent to that radiation. Thermal infrared radiation, from 8 to 14 micrometers of wavelength, is one of these and usually takes advantage from bolometers technology for detection. Nevertheless, CMOS is still fundamental for the readout integrated circuit and by employing on-chip signal processing it can solve or mitigate many of the drawbacks that the bolometers technology has, such as the relatively large non-uniformity and the thermal drifts due to self-heating processes.

The SOI research unit developed a technology in readout circuits compatible with standard infrared microbolometers allowing the reduction of the sensor non-uniformity to achieve a larger signal dynamics. The device is capable of running at 50fps consuming only 60mW of power from a 3.3V supply and is equipped with high precision temperature sensors to track substrate temperature drifts.

A prototype of the infrared camera has been developed without cooling and without thermal stabilization. Imaging with the readout circuit has been demonstrated after processing the bolometers on top of the CMOS wafers.

Application cases: 
  • Production and maintenance: predictive maintenance (hotspots lookup)
  • Automotive: night vision, pedestrian detection
  • Surveillance
Research topics: