Researchers Develop Graphene Sensor For Dim-Light Photography

Researchers have developed a new sensor made from graphene that is a thousand times more sensitive than current camera sensors.

AsianScientist (May 30, 2013) – Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a new sensor made from graphene that is a thousand times more sensitive than current camera sensors.

Graphene is a million times smaller than the thickest human hair and is made of pure carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure. It is known to have a high electrical conductivity among other properties such as durability and flexibility.

The research, led by Assistant Professor Wang Qijie from NTU’s School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, was published recently in the journal Nature Communications.

According to its inventors, cameras fitted with a new revolutionary sensor will be able to detect broad spectrum light, from the visible to mid-infrared, with high photoresponse or sensitivity. The sensors can be used in all types of cameras, including infrared cameras, traffic speed cameras, and satellite imaging.

“We have shown that it is now possible to create cheap, sensitive and flexible photo sensors from graphene alone. 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,” says Wang, who also holds a joint appointment in NTU’s School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

Not only is the graphene sensor 1,000 times more sensitive to light than current imaging sensors found in today’s cameras, it also uses ten times less energy as it operates at lower voltages, says Wang.

“While designing this sensor, we have kept current manufacturing practices in mind. This means the industry can in principle continue producing camera sensors using the CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) process, which is the prevailing technology used by the majority of factories in the electronics industry. Therefore manufacturers can easily replace the current base material of photo sensors with our new nano-structured graphene material.”

Prof. Wang has filed a patent through NTU’s Nanyang Innovation and Enterprise Office for his invention, and plans to find industry collaborators to develop the graphene sensor into a commercial product.

The article can be found at: Zhang Y et al. (2013) Broadband high photoresponse from pure monolayer graphene photodetector.

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Source: NTU.
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