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Broadband Thermal Detectors
Above: This graphic depicts the Mars Climate Sounder instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter measuring the temperature of a cross section of the Martian atmosphere as the orbiter passes above the south polar region.

Broadband Thermal Detectors

Microdevices Laboratory (MDL) has a fully customizable thermopile detector technology allowing the pitch, format size, and package to be tailored for specific applications. This technology is specifically well-suited for space-borne radiometric instruments due to the fact the detectors can operate over a wide temperature range (200-350 K), do not require a cryocooler.

Thermopile detectors can detect broadband radiation (0.1-100 um). As a result of basic physics underlying these types of detectors, they exhibit no 1/f noise, making it possible to increase the signal-to-noise by integrating for a long duration. In addition, the detectors are insensitive to instrument drifts making it possible to build highly accurate radiometers without introducing complicated thermal control of the instrument.

The MDL thermopile detector technology is currently in operation on the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) as part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Diviner lunar radiometer flying on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). MCS is now in its 13th year of returning atmospheric profiles from Mars and Diviner has reached a decade of surface mapping from lunar orbit. Below are other programs utilizing this detector technology.

Broadband Thermal Detectors

Products & Processes

Image from MDL Core Competency Project: PREFIRE


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Image from MDL Core Competency Project: Radiation Budget

Radiation Budget

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Image from MDL Core Competency Project: SWAMI


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