Researchers at the University of Michigan unveiled plans for a Graphene contact lens that could let you see in the dark, providing its wearer infrared ‘night vision’.
Graphene is capable of detecting the entire infrared spectrum, the visible and ultraviolet light.
But graphene because is only one-atom thick, it can absorb only 2.3 percent of the light that hits it, which is not enough to generate an electrical signal. Without a signal, it can’t operate as an infrared sensor.
Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, in a press release, said:
“The challenge for the current generation of graphene-based detectors is that their sensitivity is typically very poor. It’s a hundred to a thousand times lower than what a commercial device would require.”
The Michigan researchers find out a new method for generating the electrical signal. Published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology (“Graphene photodetectors with ultra-broadband and high responsivity at room temperature“):
Instead of trying to measure the electrons that are released when the light strikes the material, they amplified an electrical current that is near the electrical signals generated by the incoming light.
The ability to detect light over a broad spectral range is central to several technological applications in imaging, sensing, spectroscopy and communication.