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Conductus Inc., Standards Agency Join to Design Superconducting Bolometer

Photonics Spectra
Nov 1996
Conductus Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed an ultrasensitive high-temperature superconducting bolometer for infrared imaging applications. The device, designed under a cooperative research and development agreement, has demonstrated a sensitivity of 0.6 pW/(check)Hz, compared with the 1.5 pW/(check)Hz sensitivity of current, more expensive helium-cooled superconducting bolometers. The new bolometer uses all-epitaxial micromachining technology based on a yttrium-barium-copper oxide thin film on a free-standing, yttria-stabilized zirconia membrane, and can be used in infrared video cameras for atmosphere monitoring, night-vision equipment and clear-air turbulence detectors.


GLOSSARY
bolometer
A thermometric instrument used for the detection and measurement of radiant energy. Its essential component is a short narrow strip covered with a dead black absorbing coating and mounted at the lower end of a long cylindrical tube having a stop across it to exclude unwanted radiation. The electrical resistance of the strip changes with the changes in temperature that arise from absorbing varying amounts of radiant energy.
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