Researchers in Singapore have used sheets of pure graphene to create a broad spectrum sensor that is 1,000 times more sensitive to light than the cmos imaging sensors currently used in today's cameras.
According to its inventor, Assistant Professor Wang Qijie, the graphene sensor also uses 10 times less energy compared to competing devices as it operates at lower voltages. When mass produced, it is expected to be at least five times cheaper. "We have shown that it is now possible to create cheap, sensitive and flexible photo sensors from graphene alone," Prof Wang noted. "We expect our innovation to have great impact not only in the consumer imaging industry, but also in the satellite imaging and communication industries." Wang and his colleagues began by fabricating a graphene sheet into novel nano structures. These structures trap light-generated electron particles over a long period of time, which results in a much stronger electric signal. Such electric signals can then be processed into an image, such as a photograph captured by a digital camera. "The performance of our graphene sensor can be further improved, such as the response speed, through nanostructure engineering of graphene, and preliminary results already verified the feasibility of our concept," Wang added. The researchers are now hoping to work with industry to develop the graphene sensor into a commercial product. Wang says the breakthrough could eventually lead to cheaper cameras with longer battery life.