THz Imaging Using Uncooled Wideband Direct Detection Focal Plane Arrays

Sven van Berkel, Ozan Yurduseven, Angelo Freni, Andrea Neto, Nuria Llombart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


In millimeter and submillimeter-wave radiometric imaging systems, a persistent goal is the increase in the speed of acquisition of the image while maintaining a high sensitivity. Typically, the highest sensitivity is achieved by cryogenically cooling the detectors, specifically in astronomical applications. However, for the purpose of low-cost imaging applications, it is desirable to operate at room temperature. Without cryogenically cooling, the electronic noise introduced by the detectors becomes dominant, making the detectors less sensitive. Resorting to detection architectures containing amplification circuitry might be impractical for implementation in large focal plane arrays (FPAs) fabricated in integrated technologies. This contribution derives the focal plane architecture that maximizes the imaging speed of radiometers operating at room temperature without using any amplification circuitry. It is shown that in such scenario a practical image acquisition speed can still be achieved when a very broad portion of the THz-band is exploited. Ultimately, the imaging speed is maximized when the FPA is undersampled, implying a tradeoff in the size of the optics. The analysis is substantiated by a case study with recently developed wideband leaky lens antenna feeds operating from 200 to 600 GHz.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8016629
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Direct detection
  • focal plane arrays (FPAs)
  • leaky lens antennas
  • passive imaging
  • radiometry
  • wideband antennas


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