Researchers devise new ergonomic photodetector to serve the trillion sensor era envisioned

Industry Insights

As the world marches towards a trillion-sensor economy, this will connect billions of devices using multiple sensors under the umbrella of IoT. An important element of this economy is constituted of photo sensors/light. These sensors are tiny semiconductor-based electronic parts that detect light and convert them into electrical signals.

In fact, light sensors are spread everywhere around us from household electronic devices to healthcare equipment and automobiles to optical communication systems.

Meanwhile, over the years, research on photosensors has witnessed marked progress. Scientists have worked to develop sensors that can detect a high dynamic spectrum of lights, are easy to manufacture and are energy efficient. Interestingly, most light sensors that are used in affordable consumer products are energy efficient but are subject to noise that adversely impact their performance.

To address this, products are designed using light-to-frequency conversion circuits with improved signal to noise ratio. Nonetheless, these circuits are composed of silicon-based photodetectors that can limit the spectrum of light detection. Furthermore, the use of this approach leads to wastage of chip area which translates into a problem when the design of multi-functional electronic circuits for compact devices is involved.

A team of researchers at Incheon National University, South Korea has demonstrated a highly efficient system of photodetectors that can do away with the limitations of conventional conversion circuits.

The newly developed photodetector applies a different approach with respect to light-to-frequency conversion. The components used are light dependent and unlike conventional conversion systems are not voltage dependent.

With the new design, this allowed the team to craft light-to-frequency conversion with superior efficiency of chip area and compact form factor to make them suitable for use in flexible electronic devices.

Importantly, experiments undertaken using photosensor system indicate excellent optical properties such as responsiveness and tenability over a broad range of light.

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