Bolometers are most often biased by alternating current (AC) in order to get rid of low-frequency noises that plague direct current (DC) amplification systems. When stray capacitance is present, the responsivity of the bolometer differs significantly from the expectations of the classical theories. We develop an analytical model that facilitates the optimization of the AC readout electronics design and tuning. This model is applied to cases similar to the bolometers in the Planck space mission. We study how the responsivity and the noise equivalent power (NEP) of an AC biased bolometer depend on these essential parameters: bias current, heat sink temperature and background power, modulation frequency of the bias, and stray capacitance. We show that the optimal AC bias current in the bolometer is significantly different from that of the DC case as soon as a stray capacitance is present due to the difference in the electrothermal feedback. We also compare the performance of square and sine bias currents and show a slight theoretical advantage for the latter. This work resulted from the need to be able to predict the real behavior of AC biased bolometers in an extended range of working parameters. It proved to be applicable to optimize the tuning of the Planck High-Frequency Instrument bolometers.
© 2010 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 6, 2010
Revised Manuscript: September 14, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: September 14, 2010
Published: October 20, 2010
Andrea Catalano, Alain Coulais, and Jean-Michel Lamarre, "Analytical approach to optimizing alternating current biasing of bolometers," Appl. Opt. 49, 5938-5946 (2010)