Improved Broadband Blackbody Calibrations at NIST for Low-Background Infrared Applications
Adriaan C. Carter, Timothy M. Jung, Allan W. Smith, Steven R. Lorentz, Raju V. Datla
The Low Background Infrared (LBIR) facility at The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has continued to develop its facilities and knowledge base to meet the needs of the infrared community. Improvements in refrigeration capability at the LBIR facility has made it possible to perform calibrations in a stable 17 K background environment as compared to a relatively unstable 25 K environment achieved less than one year ago. This, combined with improved power measurement instrumentation allows measurements of 1 nW 1% standard uncertainty due to random effects. A brief overview of the changes to the LBIR facility that led to these improvements will be given. The higher sensitivity in power measurement capability and some of the methods being used to generate low power beams have highlighted new measurement issues that had previously been relatively unimportant. These issues include aperture quality, background scene temperature stability, beam shuttering, diffraction, and the noise floor of power measurement hardware. Demonstrations of common problems encountered will be shown and guidelines will be given for developing infrared sources that not only meet the needs of the user, but can also be well calibrated.