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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 38, Iss. 10 — Oct. 1, 1948
  • pp: 845–853

The Infra-Red Sensitivity of Superconducting Bolometers

NELSON FUSON  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 38, Issue 10, pp. 845-853 (1948)

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Columbium nitride superconducting bolometers have been studied for sensitivity when irradiated with a wide band of modulated infra-red radiation of about 0.1 microwatt/mm2 intensity. The bolometer response was amplified by means of a matching input transformer and wide-band amplifier. Time constants for different bolometers ranging from 0.7 to 17.0 milliseconds were observed. Comparisons are given between these superconducting bolometers and other infra-red detectors described in the literature on the basis of reference conditions suggested by Jones (reference 1). Of the 25 superconducting bolometers studied in detail the 9 most sensitive had figures of merit ranging from 14.0 to 1.3.

NELSON FUSON, "The Infra-Red Sensitivity of Superconducting Bolometers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 38, 845-853 (1948)

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  1. R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, 888 (1947).
  2. D. H. Andrews, W. F. Brucksch, Jr., W. T. Ziegler, and E. R. Blanchard, Rev. Sci. Inst. 13, 281 (1942).
  3. D. H. Andrews, R. M. Milton, and W. DeSorbo, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 36, 518 (1946); D. H. Andrews, Phys. Soc. Cambridge Conference Report, p. 56 (1947).
  4. R. M. Milton, Chem. Rev. 39, 419 (1946).
  5. These values, together with the form of Eq. (2), are taken from pages 427-8 of reference 4.
  6. D. H. Andrews and C. W. Clark, Nature 158, 945 (1946); Phys. Rev. 72, 161 (1947).
  7. In his published paper (see footnote 1) Jones originally stated these reference conditions for a sinusoidal radiation signal. However, in a private communication of May 13, 1948 he has informed the author of certain changes which he plans to publish soon. The author is grateful to Dr. Jones for permission to employ this revised form, together with the figure of merit definition, in this paper prior to the publication of Dr. Jones' on paper.
  8. Equation (5) and its proof are implicit, but do not appear explicitly in R. Clark Jones' published paper (see footnote 1).
  9. The wave form of the radiation falling on the superconducting bolometers was approximately square wave, or, more accurately, a truncated saw-tooth wave. No correction has been made for this deviation from the sinusoidal wave form called for here.
  10. R. Havens, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 36, 355A (1946).
  11. Four points on this graph and the two limit lines were obtained from Fig. 1, p. 886, of reference 1. Dr. Jones suggested the inversion of the form of the figure from that given in his published paper. It should be noted that the Havens' limit is based upon a test set-up using a single pulse of radiation of a duration equal to that of the time constant of the detector. The thermodynamic limit, as well as the plotted points, refers to testing with a single infinitely long radiation pulse.
  12. The superconducting bolometers were irradiated by an approximately blackbody source held at a temperature of near 100°C, so that the energy peak was close to 7½ microns, the radiation passing through one thin rocksalt window and 30 cm of rather humid air before reaching the bolometer.
  13. Van Zandt Williams, Rev. Sci. Inst. 19, 135 (1948). See particularly p. 161.
  14. Preliminary tests on 2 CbN bolometers with a narrowband pass amplifier still under development in this laboratory have indicated figures of merit several times smaller than those tabulated in Table II, which were obtained from the wide-band pass amplifier data.

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