An alternative geometry for bolometer sensors for use at high operating temperatures
Bolometer sensors are a key component to determine the total radiation and the radiation profile in fusion devices. For future devices like ITER the need arose to develop new sensors in order to adapt to loads, in particular neutron irradiation and enhanced thermal loads. The method proposed here to deal effectively with the stresses in the absorber and its supporting membrane is to support the absorber by flexure hinges, thus allowing deformations in all dimensions and reducing stresses. First, a design for the flexure hinges is proposed. Then finite-element analyses (FEA) have been carried out to investigate expected deformations due to residual stresses from the manufacturing process as well as due to additional thermal loads at 450 °C. The results showed stress levels below the expected tensile strength of Si. In addition, calculations show that the proposed design is expected to provide acceptable cooling time constants. Thus, prototypes based on the proposed design have been manufactured. Measurements of their deformation at room temperature are in agreement with predictions from FEA. Also, all prototypes were successfully subjected to thermal cycling up to 450 °C without any failures, thus demonstrating a successful development. However, for future application as bolometer sensor, a change in calibration parameters is expected: a factor of five for the heat capacity and a factor of two for the cooling time constant. Further prototypes including meanders and electrical contacts need to be developed and tested to finally validate if flexure hinges are a viable means for bolometer sensors at high operating temperatures.