The trick in developing the new highly sensitive, but uncooled infrared detector was engineering the two-dimensional nanomaterial graphene into a material that can carry an electric current. The device is not commercially available but could one day be integrated into cameras and telescopes.
“Much like some snakes use infrared to “see” at night, University of Central Florida researchers are working to create similar viper vision to improve the sensitivity of night-vision cameras.
The ability to enhance night vision capabilities could have implications in improving what can be seen in space, in chemical and biological disaster areas, and on the battlefield.
A study detailing the UCF researchers’ night-vision work appeared recently in the journal Nature Communications.
“With the infrared detector we’ve developed, you can extract more information from the object you’re looking at in the dark,” said Debashis Chanda, an associate professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and the study’s principal investigator.
The infrared detector developed by Chanda and his team, however, doesn’t need liquid nitrogen cooling it down to an extreme -321 degrees to be sensitive enough to detect different wavelengths of infrared light. It also operates much faster than existing night-vision cameras that don’t require cooling, but are slow to process images.
For astronomers, this means the potential to have new telescopes that see information that was previously invisible in the infrared domain. For chemical- and biological-disaster areas, or even monitoring pollution, it means taking a picture to receive a spectral analysis of the gasses present in an area, such as carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, based on how infrared light reacts with chemical molecules.
The trick in developing the new highly sensitive, but uncooled infrared detector was engineering the two-dimensional nanomaterial graphene into a material that can carry an electric current.”
Source: Phys.org by Robert Wells, University of Central Florida
Image: Debashis Chanda, an associate professor in the University of Central Florida’s NanoScience Technology Center, demonstrates improved infrared night vision capabilities. Credit: Karen Norum, University of Central Florida Office of Research