This paper reports a two-orders-of-magnitude improvement in the sensitivity of antenna-coupled nanothermocouple (ACNTC) infrared detectors. The electrical signal generated by on-chip ACNTCs results from the temperature difference between a resonant antenna locally heated by infrared radiation and the substrate. A cavity etched under the antenna provides two benefits. It eliminates the undesirable cooling of the hot junction by thermally isolating the antenna from the substrate. More importantly, careful cavity design results in constructive interference of the incident radiation reflected back to the antenna, which significantly increases the detector sensitivity. We present the cavity-depth-dependent response of ACNTCs with cavity depths between 1 μm and 22 μm. When constructive interference is maximized, the thermal response increases by 100-fold compared to devices without the cavity.
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