Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Superlattice Structure Enables High Performance Infrared Imaging

30.05.2008
Scientists at the Center for Quantum Devices (CQD) in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University have demonstrated for the first time a high-performance infrared imager, based on a Type II superlattice, which looks at wavelengths 20 times longer than visible light.

Researchers at center, led by Manijeh Razeghi, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, say that such technology has the potential for broad applications in the detection of terrorist activities, such as use in night vision, target identification, and missile tracking.

Any object, including the human body, with a near-room temperature actively emits long wavelength (around 10 micron) infrared radiation (LWIR). Tracking this infrared radiation using high-speed infrared (IR) imagers would help to reveal thermal profiles of hidden targets or objects at night when no visible source is available. Such imagers also have potential use in medical applications where excessive heating or cooling in the body can indicate problems like inflammation, blood flow issues or even cancerous tissue.

In LWIR imaging applications, the dominant technologies are photodetectors based upon the HgCdTe (mercury cadmium telluride or MCT) material platform and the quantum well photoconductors (QWIP). Both of them have shown limitations that stimulated the research for alternative technologies. Type-II InAs/GaSb (indium arsenide/gallium antimonide) superlattices, first proposed by Nobel laureate Leo Esaki in 1973, became a potential for use in infrared detection in 1987. It wasn’t until semiconductor epitaxial growth techniques such as molecular beam epitaxy were sufficiently advanced in the 1990s that high-performance infrared photon detection based on these superlattices was fully demonstrated.

“The type-II superlattice will become the next generation infrared material replacing MCT technology,” says Razeghi. “MCT has many limitations, especially in the longer wavelength infrared range critical for missile detection.”

Razeghi’s research group has recently invented a new superlattice structure, called the M-structure, which boosted the performance of the type II superlattice to a new level. This new device structure is capable of detecting very low light intensity with high optical efficiency and exhibits an electrical noise level 10 times smaller than the original design. A LWIR 320x256 pixel focal plane array fabricated from this material has been able to differentiate temperature differences as low as 0.02 degrees Celsius. The camera was able to detect 74 percent of the incident photons, similar to other leading technologies.

Researchers recently presented their findings at the SPIE Photonics West Conference held in San Jose, CA on Jan. 19-24, 2008. This work was also published in the October 18, 2007 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.

The work performed at CQD has generated much interest in type-II superlattice research and has brought funding from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Office of Naval Research, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as well as collaborations with Rockwell Scientific Company, Naval Research Laboratory, Airforce Research Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, BAE, Lockheed, and Raytheon Company.

Kyle Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht ALMA discovers aluminum around young star
17.05.2019 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht JQI researchers shed new light on atomic 'wave function'
17.05.2019 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cement as a climate killer: Using industrial residues to produce carbon neutral alternatives

20.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

When bees are freezing

20.05.2019 | Life Sciences

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth

20.05.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>