Faculty Advisor

Cosme Furlong

Faculty Advisor

Christopher Brown

Faculty Advisor

Ellery Harrington

Faculty Advisor

Francis Pantuso

Faculty Advisor

Ryszard Pryputniewicz

Faculty Advisor

Stephen Nestinger


MEMS technology has led to the development of new uncooled infrared imaging detectors. One type of these MEMS detectors consist of arrays of bi-metallic photomechanical pixels that tilt as a function of temperature associated with infrared radiation from the scene. The main advantage of these detectors is the optical readout system that measures the tilt of the beams based on the intensity of the reflected light. This removes the need for electronic readout at each of the sensing elements and reduces the fabrication cost and complexity of sensor design, as well as eliminates the electronic noise at the detector. The optical readout accuracy is sensitive to the uniformity of individual pixels on the array. The hypothesis of the present research is that direct measurements of the height change corresponding to tilt through holographic interferometry will reduce the need for high pixel uniformity. Measurements of displacements for a vacuum packaged detector with nominal responsivity of 2.4nm/K are made with a Linnik interferometer employing the four phase step technique. The interferometer can measure real-time, full-field height variations across the array. In double-exposure mode, the current height map is subtracted from a reference image so that the change in deflection is measured. A software algorithm locates each mirror on the array, extracts the measured deflection at the tip of a mirror, and uses that measurement to form a pixel of a thermogram in real-time. A blackbody target projector with temperature controllable to 0.001K is used to test the thermal resolution of the imaging system. The achieved minimum temperature resolution is better than 0.25K. The double exposure technique removes mirror non-uniformity as a source of noise. A lower than nominal measured responsivity of around 1.5nm/K combined with noise from the measurements made with the interferometric optical readout system limit the potential minimum temperature resolution. Improvements need to be made both in the holographic setup and in the MEMS detector to achieve the target temperature resolution of 0.10K.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





IR Imaging, MEMS, Interferometry