Bimaterial microcantilevers arranged into focal plane arrays (FPAs) can function as uncooled IR imaging devices. In order to analyze the performance of such devices and compare various FPAs, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of their operation, figures of merit, and fundamental limitations. We give an overview of figures of merit that are applicable to both cooled and uncooled IR detectors. Specific focus of this chapter is a performance analysis for microcantilever IR detectors with an optical readout. We discuss responsiv- ity of microcantilever IR detectors and analyze the different sources (and mechanisms) of noise present in them. A model SiNx microcantilever device with an Al layer in the bimaterial region was fabricated and its performance as an IR detector was analyzed.
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