The Graphene Ultra-sensitive Photodetector

TelecommunicationsThe ICFO said in a statement on its website that its research regarding graphene photodetectors “consists of low-cost materials that can be integrated with existing silicon technologies, and can be readily deposited onto any sort of substrates – rigid or flexible, crystalline or amorphous. The search for low-cost, ultra-sensitive photodetectors, in particular for light that is not visible with the naked eye (such as infrared light) has been a pressing challenge for physicists and engineers.”

Another week and another new announcement greatly advancing the future use of super material graphene. This one comes from the ICFO Barcelona, Spain. That’s the Institute for Photonic Sciences for those of us whose first language is English rather than Spanish. Actually this announcement was first made late last month but didn’t get much traction in English language media. Better late than never as they say. It’s hard enough trying to keep up with graphene and nano-carbon advances in English media, anyone covering Spanish media care to keep us informed?

Graphene: Key to Revolutionizing Telecommunications?
Monday June 4, 2012, 8:45pm PDT
Researchers have created an ultra-sensitive photodetector that could revolutionize the telecommunications industry and many others. Using graphene, which is made from graphite, and semiconducting quantum dots, researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona, Spain have created a photodetector that is a billion times more sensitive to light than previous graphene-based photodetectors.

—- Researchers around the globe have been working on increasing the interaction length of light with graphene to enhance its optical absorption.

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And that’s where ICFO researchers have made a breakthrough.

“We managed to successfully combine graphene with semiconducting nanocrystals to create complete new functionalities in terms of light sensing and light conversion to electricity,” lead ICFO researcher Gerasimos Konstantatos told ZDNet.

Another ICFO researcher, Frank Koppens, explained to The Economist that his team has managed to increase graphene’s light absorption to more than 50 percent by spraying tiny crystals of lead sulphide onto the surface of the material. These crystals are so small – three to ten nanometers across, a nanometer being a billionth of a meter – that they are known as quantum dots.

The Economist explains that optoelectronic transistors are much harder to make than ordinary transistors, and are in great demand in the world’s telecommunications networks, “in which signals are processed locally as electrons but are transmitted long-distance as light.”
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Below, a repeat of last month’s advance, reported here earlier. I can hardly wait for next month’s instalment.  Graphene and carbon nanotechnology, will eventually rescue our economic crisis struck early 21st century world from itself, though we are probably still a few years away from that new “carbon age” rescue.

Microcavity vastly enhances photoresponse of graphene photodetectors
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The Institute for Photonic Sciences
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