3D subwavelength photonic detector coupled with dielectric resonator antenna

New IR detector combining a dielectric resonator antenna (DRA) with a semiconductor absorber for improved signal, noise, and speed performance

The Need

The three essential characteristics of detectors are signal, noise, and speed. There are inherent trade-offs in these three figures of merit and various applications emphasize one or more characteristics. The primary limitation for infrared detectors and imagers is the limit on the achievable signal to noise. Currently, remote sensing at long wavelengths (LWIR) requires the use of cryogenically cooled mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) detectors, which imposes a heavy logistical burden for satellite or airborne systems. Thus, there is a need for a detector that can maximize all three characteristics while minimizing its impact on engineered systems.

The Technology

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Sanjay Krishna, has developed a new detector that breaks the trade-off between the key characteristics. This is accomplished by combining a dielectric resonator antenna (DRA) with a semiconductor absorber. The invention achieves low noise coupled with a signal enhancing antenna. This design can be used to optimize the signal, noise and speed for a given application with constraints placed on the operating wavelength, temperature, spectral and frequency bandwidth and cost. The novel elements of the invention include the design, choice of materials and geometry that govern the architecture of the device. This detector enables an improvement in the signal to noise by reducing the noise contribution while enhancing the signal detection. The approach can be extended to cover the infrared spectrum. It can also be applied to an array of detectors that will be used to form an imager.

Commercial Applications

  • Infrared Detection
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Medicine
  • Manufacturing
    • Process monitoring
    • Quality control

Benefits/Advantages

  • Low noise
  • Enhanced signal
  • Reduced burden on engineered systems

Research Interest

The K.I.N.D. Laboratory at Ohio State, led by Dr. Sanjay Krishna, is paving the way for the fourth generation of infrared imaging systems and applications. These imagers will advance the state-of-the-art in multiple dimensions: high operating temperature (HOT), large format (4K ✕ 4K), distinguishing multiple wavelengths simultaneously (multispectral), and using manufacturing processes that can be scaled to reduce cost and improve quality. In addition, they envision embedding additional, controllable specificity at the pixel level such as wavelength tunability, polarization, and phase. The culmination of these improvements is an infrared sensor/imager that behaves more like the human eye: able to capture a wide variety of spatial and color information, adjust on-the-fly based on the environment, and provide actionable information directly.

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