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Abstract

This paper presents the design, fabrication and testing of an improved thin-film thermal converter based on an electro-thermally excited and piezo-resistively detected micro-bridge resonator. The resonant thermal converter comprises a bifilar heater and an opposing micro-bridge resonator. When the micro-bridge resonator absorbs the radiant heat from the heater, its axial strain changes, then its resonant frequency follows. Therefore the alternating voltage or current can be transferred to the equivalent DC quantity. A non-contact temperature sensing mechanism eliminates heat loss from thermopiles and reduces coupling capacitance between the temperature sensor and the heater compared with traditional thin-film thermal converters based on thermopiles. In addition, the quasi-digital output of the resonant thin-film thermal converter eliminates such problems as intensity fluctuations associated with analogue signals output by traditional thin-film thermal converters. Using the fast-reversed DC (FRDC) method, the thermoelectric transfer difference, which determines the frequency-independent part of the ac-dc transfer difference, is evaluated to be as low as 1:1 #1; 10��6. It indicates that the non-contact temperature sensing mechanism is a feasible method to develop a high-performance thermal converter.
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