Feeds

Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS

Spook tech just got spookier

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

University of Michigan boffins have created a tiny light detector that reaches into the infared, and is already small enough to be delivered as a contact lens.

The key trick, the researchers say, is that they've created an infrared detector that doesn't need the cooling demanded by most devices that currently operate at the mid-to-far infrared wavelengths.

As UoM assistant professor of electrical and computer engineerings Zhaohui Zhong says, the design can be built so thin that “It can be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone.”

The university's release explains that while the near infrared (that is, wavelengths closest to visible light) isn't too hard to deal with, medium- and far-infrared sensors typically need to be at low temperatures.

Their work, published in Nature Nanotechnology (abstract), started with graphene because it is sensitive to a broad range of wavelengths (including the infrared).

However, graphene is quite insensitive as a photodetector, yielding “tens of milliamps per watt” because it's only offering a single layer of carbon atoms to the incoming light. That, Zhong said, is “a hundred to a thousand times lower than what a commercial device would require”.

To overcome this, the researchers integrated an amplifier into design based on two layers of graphene separated by a thin insulating layer, and ran a current through the bottom layer. When light hit the top layer, electrons were released to pass through the barrier, and the positively-charged holes left behind in the top layer altered the flow of electricity through the bottom layer.

The variation in the current in the bottom layer, rather than the electrons released, is what indicates the light hitting the detector, and the researchers claim that they achieved “mid-infrared responsivity higher than 1A per Watt”, making the device comparable with commercial detectors. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?