A digital readout IC for microbolometer imagers offering low power and improved self-heating compensation
Abbasi, Shahbaz and Shafique, Atia and Ceylan, Ömer and Gürbüz, Yaşar (2020) A digital readout IC for microbolometer imagers offering low power and improved self-heating compensation. IEEE Sensors Journal, 20 (2). pp. 909-917. ISSN 1530-437X (Print) 1558-1748 (Online)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JSEN.2019.2944236
This paper presents a novel and power efficient readout architecture for uncooled microbolometers that offers adequate noise performance along with a circuit-based method for self-heating compensation. The proposed method employs an event-generation scheme and a time-mode readout chain to achieve dynamic mode of operation resulting in low power. The readout chain consists of a capacitive transimpedance amplifier (CTIA) based current-to-time converter followed by a two stage time-to-digital converter (TDC). The CTIA employs a novel integration scheme for time amplification along with a modified reset mechanism to achieve self-heating compensation. We also present a model to analyze the implications of time-mode readout on imager operation. An experimental readout chip, based on this approach, has been designed using a 130 nm bulk CMOS technology. The proposed architecture offers robust frontend processing and achieves a per channel power consumption of 66 mu W, which is considerably lower than the most recently reported designs, while maintaining better than 10-mK readout noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD).
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