The bi-material concept for room-temperature infrared imaging has the potential of reaching an NE(Delta) T approaching the theoretical limit because of its high responsivity and low noise. The approach, which is 100% compatible with silicon IC foundry processing, utilizes a novel combination of surface micromachining and conventional integrated circuits to produce a bimaterial thermally sensitive element that controls the position of a capacitive plate coupled to the input of a low noise MOS amplifier. This approach can achieve the high sensitivity, the low weight, and the low cost necessary for equipment such as helmet mounted IR viewers and IR rifle sights. The pixel design has the following benefits: (1) an order of magnitude improvement in NE(Delta) T due to extremely high sensitivity and low noise, (2) low cost due to 100% silicon IC compatibility, (3) high image quality and increased yield due to ability to do offset and sensitivity corrections on the imager, pixel-by-pixel; (4) no cryogenic cooler and no high vacuum processing; and (5) commercial applications such as law enforcement, home security, and transportation safety. Two designs are presented. One is a 50 micrometer pixel using silicon nitride as the thermal isolation element that can achieve 5 mK NE(Delta) T; the other is a 29 micrometer pixel using silicon carbide that provides much higher thermal isolation and can achieve 10 mK NE(Delta) T.