Sensing the infrared: Researchers improve IR detectors with single-walled carbon nanotubes
A team of researchers from Peking University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Duke University is harnessing the remarkable properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) to create highly sensitive, "uncooled" photovoltaic infrared detectors. This new type of detector, may prove useful for industrial, military, manufacturing, optical communications, and scientific applications. Carbon nanotubes are known for their outstanding mechanical, electrical, and optical properties. They also are an ideal nanomaterial for infrared applications. For starters, these nanotubes exhibit strong and broadband infrared light absorption, which can be tuned by selecting nanotubes of different diameters. Also, due to their high electron mobility, nanotubes react very rapidly – on the order of picoseconds – to infrared light.