Advantages of Microbolometer | disadvantages of Microbolometer

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Microbolometer. It mentions Microbolometer advantages or benefits and Microbolometer disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is Microbolometer?

• The microbolometer is special bolometer made of uncooled thermal sensor.
• It is used as detector in thermal camera or thermal imaging equipments.
• The figure-1 depicts cross sectional view of microbolometer with different layers. It consists of infrared absorber, reflective layer (e.g titanium mirror) , readout circuit or silicon substrate.


• When infrared radiation strikes detector material, it gets heated and consecutively changes electrical resistance.
• This change in resistance is measured and used in creating an image.
• Usually some amount of light gets passed through the absorbing layer. This is reflected back by reflector in order to ensure that greatest possible absorption can be achieved. This allows production of stronger signal using microbolometer.
• The microbolometer array is found in various sizes viz. 320 X 240 pixels, 160 X 120 pixels, 640 X 480 pixels or 1024 X 768 pixels.

Benefits or advantages of Microbolometer

Following are the benefits or advantages of Microbolometer:
➨It does not require cooling unlike other IR detecting equipments. Hence it can be operated at room temperature.
➨They are smaller and light in weight.
➨They consume less power compare to cooled detector thermal imaging devices.
➨They have more MTBF value and hence life.
➨Microbolometers are less expensive compare to cooled detector based cameras.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Microbolometer

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Microbolometer:
➨The sensitivity of this type of thermal detectors is lower compare to photon detectors or cooled thermal imagers.
➨Response time is longer compare to photon detectors.
➨They can not be used for multi-spectral or high speed infrared (IR) applications.
➨They can not match resolution in comparison to cooled semiconductor based methods.
➨They have higher noise compare to cooled semiconductor methods which may interfere with the desired signal significantly.

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