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Nanoelectromechanical Infrared Detector

Objective

The aim of this proposal is to develop an uncooled nanoelectromechanical detector for infrared (IR) and terahertz (THz) radiation, which surpasses the sensitivity of state-of-the-art uncooled detectors by up to two orders of magnitude. The reliable and quantitative sensing of light is a fundamental task ubiquitous to modern technology. The IR to THz region of the electromagnetic spectrum hosts a wealth of intriguing interactions between radiation and matter, which are of particular interest for a wide range of applications including quality control in food and agriculture, drug development in pharma, medical imaging, security scanning, environmental monitoring, astronomy, and fundamental research. Because of the low energy of IR/THz photons, highly effective photodiodes don’t exist in this region and detectors typically rely on less sensitive thermal detectors. In order to reach sensitivities comparable to what is obtainable with photodiodes in the visible and near IR region, thermal IR detectors require cryogenic cooling. In our ongoing work on photothermal coupling of nanoplasmonic antennas and single molecules to nanomechanical resonators (ERC-StG PLASMECS), we have recently obtained an extraordinary sensitivity of 16 fW/rtHz at room temperature in the visible regime, which even exceeds the sensitivity of state-of-the-art LHe cooled bolometers. The ERC PoC grant would allow us to develop our current nanomechanical sensor further to an innovative uncooled IR/THz detector with unprecedented sensitivity. The resulting detector would constitute a breakthrough by improving the current sensitivity of state-of-the-art uncooled detectors to the fundamental photon noise limit. Such a detector would not only spur IR-THz-research, but more importantly, without the need of cryogenic cooling it would enable IR/THz technology to actually leave the laboratory and make a big impact in many fields of application.
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Host institution

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET WIEN

Address

Karlsplatz 13
1040 Wien

Austria

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 140 000

Beneficiaries (2)

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TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET WIEN

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 140 000

INVISIBLE-LIGHT LABS GMBH

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 10 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 875518

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 October 2019

  • End date

    31 March 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

Hosted by:

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET WIEN

Austria