Infrared imaging can be used as a sensor for a wide variety of clinical and laboratory modalities, but the IR technology inevitably suffers from a fundamental problem: powerful IR sensors emit heat themselves. Current high resolution infrared systems have to be actively cooled, increasing their size, cost and mobility. But there might be a way out. Michael Berger at Nanowerk is reporting that researchers at Michigan State University were able to use carbon nanotubes as infrared sensors that do not require external cooling.
Xi, John D. Ryder Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU), together with members of his team, has presented the first experimental realization of a novel CNT based IR detector with a nanoantenna.
Although nanoscale antennas have been investigated theoretically before, a practical sensitive IR device combined with nanoantenna-like structures has been firstly proposed and experimentally demonstrated now by Xi’s team.
“The photocurrent response of CNT sensors has been relatively low because of the small sensing area and low electric field” says Xi. “Our demonstration of the nano-antenna provides a solution to this problem. By incorporating the nano-antenna with the device, the electric field at the sensing area in a specific range of IR radiation can be increased.”