Fiber-optic bolometers (FOBs) intended for plasma radiation measurement in magnetically confined fusion have been previously developed using a silicon pillar that functions as both a Fabry-Perot interferometer (FPI) for temperature measurement and an absorber for the radiation. We report an FOB design that can significantly improve the detection sensitivity over earlier designs by engineering the absorber of the FOB. Our design uses the fact that, compared with a silicon pillar, a gold film with the same x-ray absorption thickness will show a much higher temperature rise from a given power density of the radiation. Therefore, the responsivity of an FOB can be improved by attaching a large gold disk to the silicon FPI as the absorber. We have developed a fabrication method for FOBs of such design and obtained an FOB with a 4-μm-thick, 0.6-mm-diameter gold disk attached to a 200-μm-diameter, 100-μm-thick silicon FPI. We have characterized the noise, responsivity, response time, and noise-equivalent power density (NEPD) and compared these with the earlier design where the absorber is mainly the silicon FPI itself. The experimental result suggests that the FOB with the gold disk achieves a responsivity of ∼2.8 mK/(W/m2) and a noise-equivalent-power-density of 0.13 W/m2, which are, respectively, more than nine times larger and six times smaller compared to the FOB using a previous design. Improved NEPD and good absorption over a broad frequency range will make the FOB more attractive for applications in magnetic-confinement fusion devices.
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