AIP Digital Archive
Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
The feasibility of microcantilever-based optical detection is demonstrated. Microcantilevers may provide a simple means for developing single-element and multielement infrared sensors that are smaller, more sensitive, and lower in cost than quantum well, thermoelectric, or bolometric sensors. Here we specifically report here on an evaluation of laboratory prototypes that are based on commercially available microcantilevers, such as those used in atomic force microscopy. In this work, optical transduction techniques were used to measure microcantilever response to remote sources of thermal energy. The noise equivalent power at 20 Hz for room temperature microcantilevers was found to be approximately 3.5 nW/(square root of)Hz, with a specific detectivity of 3.6×107 cm Hz1/2/W, when an uncoated microcantilever was irradiated by a low-power diode laser operating at 786 nm. Operation is shown to be possible from dc to kHz frequencies, and the effect of cantilever shape and the role of absorptive coatings are discussed. Finally, spectral response in the midinfrared is evaluated using both coated and uncoated microcantilevers. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.
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