Abstract

A generalized theory for metal-film bolometers is presented which yields the temperature distribution along the length of a bolometer exact with respect to the fourth-power radiation law. The general case of combined radiative and conductive coupling is treated, and the resulting temperature distribution is obtained for both cooled and uncooled bolometers. An exact analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio for a bolometer is given but not solved. A method utilizing a linear approximation to the exact analysis is presented for calculating the optimum bias current from known bolometer parameters. The ratio of the average bolometer temperature with optimum bias current (maximum signal-to-noise ratio) to that without bias current is derived, and this ratio is related to a design parameter which may be used as a measure of quality. It is shown that this method leads to a more accurate description of bolometer performance as determined by the calculated terminal resistance under operating conditions.

© 1962 Optical Society of America

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