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MIR - 101/1001
Selection Guide


Thermopile detectors differ from Pyroelectric detectors in several important ways.

bulletThermopile detector output is proportional to incident radiation while the pyroelectric detectors output is proportional to rate of change of incident radiation. In other words, the thermopile detector is DC coupled while the pyroelectric detector is AC coupled.


bulletThermopile detectors have low impedance while pyroelectric detectors have very high impedance requiring an internal impedance converting buffer to make them useable. Low impedance is an advantage in that associated circuitry is less susceptible to disturbance from extraneous radiation and electrical noise.


bulletA thermopile is a number of thermocouples connected in series. A thermocouple is a junction of dissimilar metals which produce voltage when one side of the junction has a different temperature to the other. The so called cold side of the junction is kept close to ambient temperature by bonding it to a temperature stable mass. The hot side of the junction is exposed to incident radiation. Connecting many thermocouples in series produces higher voltage.


bulletSome thermopile sensors have a built-in thermistor which provides measurement of the ambient temperature thus allowing the temperature of the target to be calculated.



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Last modified: October 25, 2009