A thermal microphotonic sensor is disclosed for detecting infrared radiation using heat generated by the infrared radiation to shift the resonant frequency of an optical resonator (e.g. a ring resonator) to which the heat is coupled. The shift in the resonant frequency can be determined from light in an optical waveguide which is evanescently coupled to the optical resonator. An infrared absorber can be provided on the optical waveguide either as a coating or as a plate to aid in absorption of the infrared radiation. In some cases, a vertical resonant cavity can be formed about the infrared absorber to further increase the absorption of the infrared radiation. The sensor can be formed as a single device, or as an array for imaging the infrared radiation.