Science and Engineering

Brown University

Pradeep Guduru, Jacob Rosenstein
Providence, RI
December 2020

A pair of researchers at Brown University will develop a ten million frames-per-second infrared (IR) microscope, which could measure highly transient, localized temperature fields in materials at unprecedented temporal and spatial resolutions.  The temporal resolution of the planned IR microscope represents an improvement of about four orders of magnitude over commercially available systems.  A new image-acquisition architecture will be developed, which incorporates state-of-the-art advances in integrated-circuit design and nano-fabrication technologies to achieve image acquisition at ten million frames per second.  The instrument consists of the design, fabrication, and integration of four sub-systems: a mercury cadmium telluride detector focal-plane-array (FPA) with 32×32 pixels capable of measuring temperatures over a range of 300K–1500K; a state-of-the-art cryogenic CMOS Read-Out Integrated-Circuit (ROIC) for simultaneous high-speed data acquisition from all pixels of the FPA; a custom-designed IR optical imaging system to achieve diffraction-limited spatial resolution; and, a cryogenic vacuum-chamber to house the FPA, ROIC, and some of the optics.  The IR microscope is expected to open up avenues of fundamental scientific inquiry that are currently not possible.  Three specific areas in which the instrument will provide a transformative measurement capability are: imaging the formation and understanding the mechanisms of individual “hot spots” in shock-loaded energetic materials; understanding the mechanisms of adiabatic shear banding in heterogeneous materials and engineering their microstructures for unprecedented mechanical properties for protection against impact; and, studying friction at the scale of individual asperities and the development of predictive friction laws for modeling earthquake dynamics.  The in-house system design will also result in intellectual property with significant potential for commercialization.

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