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Monash University - Light detector to revolutionise night vision technology

DCN Corp® - Graphene light detector in the terahertz (THz) range. Credit - Monash University (MU), Australia, the University of Maryland (UoM), USA, and the USA Naval Research LaboratoryAustralian researchers and other of their colleagues in the USA have managed to develop a light detector that could revolutionise chemical sensing and night vision technology

Collaborative researchers at Monash University (MU), Australia, the University of Maryland (UoM), USA, and the USA Naval Research Laboratory have created a light detector based on the wonder material Graphene. The research has been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

It is claimed that the detector is capable of detecting light over an unusually broad range of wavelengths, which include the terahertz (THz) region where typically sensitive light detection is most difficult.

As stated by Professor Michael Fuhrer, MU School of Physics, that the research could lead to a generation of light detectors that could see below the surface of walls and other objects - "we have demonstrated light detection from terahertz to near-infrared frequencies, a range about 100 time larger than the visible spectrum," - and - "Detection of infrared and terahertz light has numerous uses, from chemical analysis to night vision goggles, and body scanners used in airport security."

Unfortunately, current technological applications for THz detection is very limited, because they need to be kept extremely cold to help maintain sensitivity. Furthermore, the current detectors on the market tend to work at room temperature (RT) but are bulky, slow and expensive.

Excitingly Professor Fuhrer claims that the new detector in fact works at RT, and is as sensitive as any existing RT detector technology in the THz range, but at the same time more than a million times faster.

In conclusion, Professor Fuhrer states - "The combination of sensitivity and speed for terahertz detection is simply unprecedented," - with the researchers claiming that because the device was easily manufacturable that it could lead on to inexpensive infrared cameras or night vision googles. Original article available here