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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 43, Iss. 1 — Jan. 1, 1953
  • pp: 1–10

The General Theory of Bolometer Performance

R. CLARK JONES  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 43, Issue 1, pp. 1-10 (1953)

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A general phenomenological theory of the static and dynamic behavior of bolometers is presented. The theory assumes as given the fundamental relations between the temperature and resistance of the bolometer, and the past history of the power dissipated within it. From these basic properties are derived a number of the properties of more immediate interest, such as electrical impedance, responsivity as a function of frequency, and the static load curve.

Several equivalent circuits are developed to represent the behavior of the bolometer as a function of frequency at a single operating point. A two-terminal equivalent circuit is described that represents the electrical impedance as a function of frequency. In order to represent the response of the bolometer to incident radiation as a function of frequency, a four-terminal equivalent circuit is described.

An electrical bridge is described that permits one to measure by purely electrical means the electrical response that a bolometer would have to radiation of any given time dependence, including radiation that varies sinusoidally. By purely electrical means and without the need of a radiation source (calibrated or otherwise), the bridge provides a precise measurement of the bolometer’s responsivity (output volts per watt of incident radiation) as a function of frequency. An electrical signal S(t) at the input of the bridge produces the same electrical output as would be produced in the normal use of the bolometer by a radiation signal with the same wave form as S(t).

The presentation is in three parts: static performance; stability; and dynamic performance.

R. CLARK JONES, "The General Theory of Bolometer Performance," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 1-10 (1953)

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  1. Marcel J. E. Golay, Rev. Sci. Instr. 18, 347–356 (1947).
  2. Billings, Hyde, and Barr, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, 123 (1947).

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