Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Sensing the infrared: Researchers improve IR detectors with single-walled carbon nanotubes: New design eliminates need for complex, expensive cooling systems

This schematic shows the design of single-walled carbon nanotube photodetector, which provides a more efficient method of collecting infrared radiation without relying on cryogenics for cooling.

Credit: Image courtesy Sheng Wang, Peking University.
This schematic shows the design of single-walled carbon nanotube photodetector, which provides a more efficient method of collecting infrared radiation without relying on cryogenics for cooling.

Credit: Image courtesy Sheng Wang, Peking University.

Abstract:
Whether used in telescopes or optoelectronic communications, infrared detectors must be continuously cooled to avoid being overwhelmed by stray thermal radiation. Now, a team of researchers from Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Duke University (USA) is harnessing the remarkable properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) to create highly sensitive, "uncooled" photovoltaic infrared detectors.

Sensing the infrared: Researchers improve IR detectors with single-walled carbon nanotubes: New design eliminates need for complex, expensive cooling systems

Washington, DC | Posted on May 23rd, 2012

This new type of detector, which the team describes in a paper published today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optical Materials Express, may prove useful for industrial, military, manufacturing, optical communications, and scientific applications.

Carbon nanotubes are known for their outstanding mechanical, electrical, and optical properties. "They also are an ideal nanomaterial for infrared applications," says Sheng Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Electronics at Peking University in Beijing, China, and an author of the Optical Materials Express paper. "For starters, these nanotubes exhibit strong and broadband infrared light absorption, which can be tuned by selecting nanotubes of different diameters. Also, due to their high electron mobility, nanotubes react very rapidly - on the order of picoseconds - to infrared light." In comparison to traditional infrared detectors, which are based on semiconductors made of a mercury-cadmium-telluride alloy, the SWNTs are an order of magnitude more efficient, the researchers report.

The team's photovoltaic infrared detector is formed by aligning SWNT arrays on a silicon substrate. The nanotubes arrays are then placed between asymmetric palladium and scandium contacts. These two metals have properties that collectively create what is known as an Ohmic contact, a region in a semiconductor device that has very low electrical resistance, which helps make the detector operate more efficiently.

"Fabrication of carbon nanotube infrared detectors can be readily implemented on a flexible substrate and large wafer at a low cost," explains Wang.

The detector demonstrated "acceptable sensitivity" at room temperature and may be significantly improved by increasing the density of the carbon nanotubes, according to the team. The signal-to-noise performance of conventional infrared photodetectors is limited by their natural infrared emission, which is subsequently absorbed by the detector. To avoid having this stray radiation overwhelm the detector, liquid nitrogen or electric cooling is generally used to suppress this thermal effect. However, this makes infrared detectors more complex and expensive to operate. The new design eliminates this need because carbon nanotubes have special thermal properties. At room temperature, they emit comparatively little infrared radiation of their own, especially when the carbon nanotube is on the substrate. In addition, nanotubes are very good at conducting heat, so temperatures do not build up on the detector itself.

One of the biggest surprises for the team was achieving relatively high infrared detectivity (the radiation power required to produce a signal from a photoconductor) using a carbon nanotube thin film only a few nanometers thick, Wang points out. Notably, conventional infrared detectors require much thicker films, on the scale of hundreds of nanometers, to obtain comparable detectivity.

Another huge advantage of the detector is that the fabrication process is completely compatible with carbon nanotube transistors - meaning no big expensive equipment changes are necessary. "Our doping-free chemical approach provides an ideal platform for carbon nanotube electronic and optoelectronic integrated circuits," says Wang.

The next step for the team is to focus on improving the detectivity of the detector with greater SWNT density, and to also achieve a wide spectrum response with improved diameter control.

####

About Optical Society of America
Uniting more than 130,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.

About Optical Materials Express

Optical Materials Express (OMEx) is OSA's newest peer-reviewed, open-access journal focusing on the synthesis, processing and characterization of materials for applications in optics and photonics. OMEx, which launched in April 2011, primarily emphasizes advances in novel optical materials, their properties, modeling, synthesis and fabrication techniques; how such materials contribute to novel optical behavior; and how they enable new or improved optical devices. For more information, visit www.OpticsInfoBase.org/OMEx.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Angela Stark

202-416-1443

Copyright © Optical Society of America

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

The paper, "Carbon Nanotube Arrays Based High-Performance Infrared Photodetector,"by Q. Zeng et al.:

Will appear in a special feature issue on "Nanocarbon for Photonics and Optoelectronics" in Vol. 2, Issue 6 of Optical Materials Express:

Related News Press

News and information

Basque researchers turn light upside down February 23rd, 2018

Stiffness matters February 23rd, 2018

Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D: Berkeley Lab researchers generate first images of 129 DNA structures February 22nd, 2018

'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing: Combined memristor and transistor can process information and store memory with one device February 22nd, 2018

Chip Technology

Basque researchers turn light upside down February 23rd, 2018

Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D: Berkeley Lab researchers generate first images of 129 DNA structures February 22nd, 2018

'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing: Combined memristor and transistor can process information and store memory with one device February 22nd, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Nanotube fibers in a jiffy: Rice University lab makes short nanotube samples by hand to dramatically cut production time January 11th, 2018

Touchy nanotubes work better when clean: Rice, Swansea scientists show that decontaminating nanotubes can simplify nanoscale devices January 4th, 2018

Paving the way for a non-electric battery to store solar energy: UMass Amherst scientists say a polymer chain organized like a string of Christmas lights assists energy storage December 22nd, 2017

Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue: Rice University scientists, engineers develop microfluidic devices, microelectrodes for gentle implantation December 19th, 2017

Sensors

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Leti Chief Scientist Barbara De Salvo Will Help Kick Off ISSCC 2018 with Opening-Day Keynote: In Addition, Leti Scientists Will Present and Demo New Technology for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting February 8th, 2018

Engineers develop flexible, water-repellent graphene circuits for washable electronics January 24th, 2018

Leti to Demo New Curving Technology at Photonics West that Improves Performance of Optical Components January 18th, 2018

Discoveries

Basque researchers turn light upside down February 23rd, 2018

Histology in 3-D: New staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples February 22nd, 2018

Developing reliable quantum computers February 22nd, 2018

Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D: Berkeley Lab researchers generate first images of 129 DNA structures February 22nd, 2018

Announcements

Basque researchers turn light upside down February 23rd, 2018

Stiffness matters February 23rd, 2018

Histology in 3-D: New staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples February 22nd, 2018

Developing reliable quantum computers February 22nd, 2018

Energy

Round-the-clock power from smart bowties February 5th, 2018

Silk fibers could be high-tech ‘natural metamaterials’ January 31st, 2018

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Nature paper by Schlumberger researchers used photothermal based nanoscale IR spectroscopy to analyze heterogeneous process of petroleum generation January 23rd, 2018

Solar/Photovoltaic

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows: Engineered quantum dots could bring down the cost of solar electricity January 2nd, 2018

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project