The new sensor developed at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, is highly sensitive to both visible and infrared light, and could be used in everything from the family cameras to surveillance and satellite cameras.
The sensor, which is 1,000 times more sensitive to light than the imaging sensors of most of today’s cameras, gets the high photoresponse from its innovative structure.
It is made of graphene, a super strong carbon compound with a honeycomb structure that is as flexible as rubber, more conductive than silicon and which resists heat better than a diamond, ‘TechNewsDaily’ reported.
This is the first time that a broad spectrum, high photosensitive sensor has been made using pure graphene, inventor of the sensor, Wang Qijie said.
“We have shown that it is now possible to create cheap, sensitive and flexible sensors from graphene alone,” said Wang.
“We expect our innovation will have great impact not only on the consumer imaging industry, but also in satellite imaging and communication industries, as well as the mid-infrared applications,” said Wang.
Wang said the key to his new sensor is the use of “light-trapping” nanostructures that use graphene as a base.
The nanostructures hold onto light-generated electron particles for much longer than conventional sensors.
This results in a stronger than usual electric signal, which can be processed into an image, like a photograph captured by a digital camera.
Most of the camera sensors use a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor as a base. But Wang said that his graphene base is far more effective, producing clearer, sharper photos.