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New technique could transform low-energy light detection

Researchers have discovered a way to use standard semiconductors to detect light over a much broader range of wavelengths.

The technology, developed by a team of scientists at Georgia State University and the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds, opens new possibilities in solar power generation and low-energy light detection.

Edmund Linfield, Professor of Terahertz Electronics in the University of Leeds' School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, whose team built the patterned semiconductors used in the new technique, said: “Generating electric current from the lower energy ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infrared, is very challenging using semiconductor materials because the wavelengths involved provide little energy. We are extremely excited about finding a way to address this problem.”

Professor Linfield added: “The pay-offs are potentially very significant – from more efficient use of solar energy by utilizing a larger portion of the spectrum to developing new types of detector for use at long wavelengths.”

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Until now, one of the solutions to the challenge of detecting low-energy light has been to find special semiconductor materials that respond to it.

New technique could transform low-energy light detection

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