A Novel Current-Controlled Oscillator-Based Low-Supply-Voltage Microbolometer Readout Architecture

Gülden M. A., Zencir E., ÇAVUŞ E.

Journal of Circuits, Systems and Computers, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier


© 2020 World Scientific Publishing Company.In this paper, we present a novel, almost-digital approach for bolometer readout circuits to overcome the area and power dissipation bottlenecks of analog-based classical microbolometer circuits. A current-controlled oscillator (CCO)-based analog-to-digital converter (ADC) is utilized instead of a capacitive transimpedance amplifier (CTIA) in the classical readout circuits. This approach, which has not been reported before, both produces the required gain in the bolometer input circuit and directly digitizes the bolometer signal. With the proposed architecture, the need for large capacitances (of the order of 10-15pF for each column) at which the current is accumulated in the bolometer circuits and the voltage headroom limitation of classical microbolometer circuits are eliminated. Therefore, the proposed architecture permits to design readout circuits with reduced pixel pitch and lower power supply, both of which in turn lead to higher-resolution Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs) with lower power dissipation. The new architecture is modeled and simulated using a 180-nm CMOS process for sensitivity, noise performance, and power dissipation. Unlike the 3.3-V power supply usage of classical readout circuits, the proposed design utilizes 1.2-V analog and 0.9-V digital supply voltages with a power dissipation of almost half of the classical approach.