Abstract

A differential radiometer can be constructed by placing two matched bolometric detectors in an ac bridge, thus producing a signal that is proportional to the difference in power incident on the two detectors. In conditions of large and time-varying common-mode radiative load, the common-mode response resulting from imperfectly matched detectors can limit the stability of the difference signal. For semiconductor thermistor bolometers we find that the bridge can always be trimmed to null the common-mode response for a given instantaneous value of the radiative load. However, subsequent changes in the common-mode radiative load change the operating point of the detectors, giving rise to a second-order common-mode response. This response can be minimized by increasing the electrical-power dissipation in the detectors at the cost of sensitivity. For the case that we are analyzing, and for mismatches in detector parameters that are typical of randomly paired detectors, common-mode rejection ratios in excess of 103 can be achieved under 20% changes in radiative load.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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