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Special Issue "State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Optical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022 | Viewed by 8799

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Yang Yang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Optical Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Interests: semiconductor device; perovskite solar cells; optoelectornic devices; X-ray image sensors
Prof. Dr. Xiaoshuang Chen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Laboratory for Infrared Physics, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 500 Yu-Tian Road, Shanghai 200083, China
Interests: infrared photodetective materials and device physics; microelectronics and solid-state electronics; metamaterials, photonic artificial structure, and application; condensed matter physics and condensed matter spectrum; optoelectronics of low-dimensional quantum materials
Dr. Yan Huang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Laboratory for Infrared Physics, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 500 Yu-Tian Road, Shanghai 200083, China
Interests: microelectronics and solid-state electronics; condensed matter physics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development of information technology relies on the advancement of optical sensors. In this Special Issue, we shall focus on State-of-the-Art Optical Sensor Technology in China. The issue will cover all aspects of optical sensing materials, devices, and systems, including but not limited to photodetectors, optical fiber-based sensors, Lidar, optical sensing and imaging for biomedical applications, advanced microscopy, advanced imaging technology, sensor network, infrared light field control, multimode infrared detection, etc.

Prof. Dr. Yang Yang
Prof. Dr. Xiaoshuang Chen
Dr. Yan Huang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Communication
Ultraviolet Response in Coplanar Silicon Avalanche Photodiodes with CMOS Compatibility
Sensors 2022, 22(10), 3873; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22103873 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 267
Abstract
Highly sensitive ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors are highly desired for industrial and scientific applications. However, the responsivity of silicon photodiodes in the UV wavelength band is relatively low due to high-density Si/SiO2 interface states. In this paper, a coplanar avalanche photodiode (APD) was [...] Read more.
Highly sensitive ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors are highly desired for industrial and scientific applications. However, the responsivity of silicon photodiodes in the UV wavelength band is relatively low due to high-density Si/SiO2 interface states. In this paper, a coplanar avalanche photodiode (APD) was developed with a virtual guard ring design. When working in Geiger mode, it exhibited a strong UV response. The responsivity of 4 × 103 A/W (corresponding to a gain of 8 × 106) at 261 nm is measured under the incident power of 0.6 μW with an excess bias of 1.5 V. To the best of our knowledge, the maximum 3-dB bandwidth of 1.4 GHz is the first report ever for a Si APD when working in the Geiger mode in spite of the absence of an integrated CMOS read-out circuit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Communication
Optimization of Pixel Size and Electrode Structure for Ge:Ga Terahertz Photoconductive Detectors
Sensors 2022, 22(5), 1916; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22051916 - 01 Mar 2022
Viewed by 419
Abstract
To investigate the effects of the pixel sizes and the electrode structures on the performance of Ge-based terahertz (THz) photoconductive detectors, vertical structure Ge:Ga detectors with different structure parameters were fabricated. The characteristics of the detectors were investigated at 4.2 K, including the [...] Read more.
To investigate the effects of the pixel sizes and the electrode structures on the performance of Ge-based terahertz (THz) photoconductive detectors, vertical structure Ge:Ga detectors with different structure parameters were fabricated. The characteristics of the detectors were investigated at 4.2 K, including the spectral response, blackbody response (Rbb), dark current density-voltage characters, and noise equivalent power (NEP). The detector with the pixel radius of 400 μm and the top electrode of the ring structure showed the best performance. The spectral response band of this detector was about 20–180 μm. The Rbb of this detector reached as high as 0.92 A/W, and the NEP reached 5.4 × 10−13 W/Hz at 0.5 V. Compared with the detector with a pixel radius of 1000 μm and the top electrode of the spot structure, the Rbb increased nearly six times, and the NEP decreased nearly 12 times. This is due to the fact that the optimized parameters increased the equivalent electric field of the detector. This work provides a route for future research into large-scale array Ge-based THz detectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Communication
Part-Per-Billion Level Chemical Sensing with a Gold-Based SERS-Active Substrate
Sensors 2022, 22(5), 1778; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22051778 - 24 Feb 2022
Viewed by 376
Abstract
We used surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for the rapid and sensitive detection and quantification of caffeine in solution. Such a technique incorporated into a portable device is finding wide applications in trace chemical analysis in various fields, including law enforcement, medicine, environmental monitoring, [...] Read more.
We used surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for the rapid and sensitive detection and quantification of caffeine in solution. Such a technique incorporated into a portable device is finding wide applications in trace chemical analysis in various fields, including law enforcement, medicine, environmental monitoring, and food quality control. To realize such applications, we are currently developing portable and handheld trace chemical analyzers based on SERS, which are integrated with a sensor embedded with activated gold nanoparticles in a porous glass matrix. In this study, we used this gold SERS-active substrate to measure aqueous solutions of the drug caffeine as a test chemical to benchmark sensor performance by defining sensitivity (lowest measured concentration (LMC) and estimated limit of detection (LOD)), determining concentration dependence and quantification capabilities by constructing calibration curves; by evaluating the effects of pH values of 3, 7, and 11; and by examining the reproducibility of the SERS measurements. The results demonstrate that the SERS sensor is sensitive, with caffeine detected at an LMC of 50 parts per billion (ppb) with an LOD of 0.63 ppb. The results further show that the sensor is very stable and can be used to make reproducible measurements, even under extremely acidic to basic pH conditions. Vibrational assignments of all observed SERS peaks are made and reported for the first time for caffeine on a gold substrate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Article
High-Throughput Continuous-Flow Separation in a Micro Free-Flow Electrophoresis Glass Chip Based on Laser Microfabrication
Sensors 2022, 22(3), 1124; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22031124 - 01 Feb 2022
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Micro free-flow electrophoresis (μFFE) provides a rapid and straightforward route for the high-performance online separation and purification of targeted liquid samples in a mild manner. However, the facile fabrication of a μFFE device with high throughput and high stability remains a challenge due [...] Read more.
Micro free-flow electrophoresis (μFFE) provides a rapid and straightforward route for the high-performance online separation and purification of targeted liquid samples in a mild manner. However, the facile fabrication of a μFFE device with high throughput and high stability remains a challenge due to the technical barriers of electrode integration and structural design for the removal of bubbles for conventional methods. To address this, the design and fabrication of a high-throughput μFFE chip are proposed using laser-assisted chemical etching of glass followed by electrode integration and subsequent low-temperature bonding. The careful design of the height ratio of the separation chamber and electrode channels combined with a high flow rate of buffer solution allows the efficient removal of electrolysis-generated bubbles along the deep electrode channels during continuous-flow separation. The introduction of microchannel arrays further enhances the stability of on-chip high-throughput separation. As a proof-of-concept, high-performance purification of fluorescein sodium solution with a separation purity of ~97.9% at a voltage of 250 V from the mixture sample solution of fluorescein sodium and rhodamine 6G solution is demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Article
Real-Time Hyperspectral Video Acquisition with Coded Slits
Sensors 2022, 22(3), 822; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22030822 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 404
Abstract
We propose a real-time hyperspectral video acquisition system that uses coded slits. Conventional imaging spectrometers usually have scanning mechanisms that reduce the temporal resolution or sacrifice the spatial resolution to acquire spectral information instantly. Recently, computational spectral imaging has been applied to realize [...] Read more.
We propose a real-time hyperspectral video acquisition system that uses coded slits. Conventional imaging spectrometers usually have scanning mechanisms that reduce the temporal resolution or sacrifice the spatial resolution to acquire spectral information instantly. Recently, computational spectral imaging has been applied to realize high-speed or high-performance spectral imaging. However, the most current computational spectral imaging systems take a long time to reconstruct spectral data cubes from limited measurements, which limits real-time hyperspectral video acquisition. In this work, we propose a new computational spectral imaging system. We substitute the slit in a conventional scanning-based imaging spectrometer with coded slits, which can achieve the parallel acquisition of spectral data and thus an imaging speed that is several times higher. We also apply an electronically controlled translation stage to use different codes at each exposure level. The larger amount of data allows for fast reconstruction through matrix inversion. To solve the problem of a trade-off between imaging speed and image quality in high-speed spectral imaging, we analyze the noise in the system. The severe readout noise in our system is suppressed with S-matrix coding. Finally, we build a practical prototype that can acquire hyperspectral video with a high spatial resolution and a high signal-to-noise ratio at 5 Hz in real time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Article
Dip-Coating Self-Assembly Fabrication and Polarization Sensitive Photoresponse of Aligned Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Film
Sensors 2022, 22(2), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22020490 - 10 Jan 2022
Viewed by 444
Abstract
It is challenging to obtain wafer-scaled aligned films for completely exploiting the promising properties of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (s-SWCNTs). Aligned s-SWCNTs with a large area can be obtained by combining water evaporation and slow withdrawal-induced self-assembly in a dip-coating process. Moreover, the [...] Read more.
It is challenging to obtain wafer-scaled aligned films for completely exploiting the promising properties of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (s-SWCNTs). Aligned s-SWCNTs with a large area can be obtained by combining water evaporation and slow withdrawal-induced self-assembly in a dip-coating process. Moreover, the tunability of deposition morphology parameters such as stripe width and spacing is examined. The polarized Raman results show that s-SWCNTs can be aligned in ±8.6°. The derived two terminal photodetector shows both a high negative responsivity of 41 A/W at 520 nm and high polarization sensitivity. Our results indicate that aligned films with a large area may be useful to electronics- and optoelectronics-related applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Article
Optical Fiber Bundle-Based High-Speed and Precise Micro-Scanning for Image High-Resolution Reconstruction
Sensors 2022, 22(1), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22010127 - 25 Dec 2021
Viewed by 738
Abstract
We propose an imaging method based on optical fiber bundle combined with micro-scanning technique for improving image quality without complex image reconstruction algorithms. In the proposed method, a piezoelectric-ceramic-chip is used as the micro-displacement driver of the optical fiber bundle, which has the [...] Read more.
We propose an imaging method based on optical fiber bundle combined with micro-scanning technique for improving image quality without complex image reconstruction algorithms. In the proposed method, a piezoelectric-ceramic-chip is used as the micro-displacement driver of the optical fiber bundle, which has the advantages of small volume, fast response speed and high precision. The corresponding displacement of the optical fiber bundle can be generated by precise voltage controlling. An optical fiber bundle with core/cladding diameter 4/80 μm and hexagonal arrangement is used to scan the 1951 USAF target. The scanning step is 1 μm, which is equivalent to the diffraction limit resolution of the optical system. The corresponding information is recorded at high speed through photo-detectors and a high-resolution image is obtained by image stitching processing. The minimum distinguishable stripe width of the proposed imaging technique with piezoelectric-ceramic-chip driven micro-scanning is approximately 2.1 μm, which is 1 time higher than that of direct imaging with a CCD camera whose pixel size is close to the fiber core size. The experimental results indicate that the optical fiber bundle combined with piezoelectric-ceramic-chip driven micro-scanning is a high-speed and high-precision technique for high-resolution imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Article
Application of Excimer Lamp in Quantitative Detection of SF6 Decomposition Component SO2
Sensors 2021, 21(24), 8165; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21248165 - 07 Dec 2021
Viewed by 656
Abstract
Accurate quantitative detection for trace gas has long been the center of failure diagnosis for gas-insulated equipment. An absorption spectroscopy-based detection system was developed for trace SF6 decomposition SO2 detection in this paper. In order to reduce interference from other decomposition, [...] Read more.
Accurate quantitative detection for trace gas has long been the center of failure diagnosis for gas-insulated equipment. An absorption spectroscopy-based detection system was developed for trace SF6 decomposition SO2 detection in this paper. In order to reduce interference from other decomposition, ultraviolet spectrum of SO2 was selected for detection. Firstly, an excimer lamp was developed in this paper as the excitation of the absorption spectroscopy compared with regular light sources with electrodes, such as electrodeless lamps that are more suitable for long-term monitoring. Then, based on the developed excimer lamp, a detection system for trace SO2 was established. Next, a proper absorption peak was selected by calculating spectral derivative for further analysis. Experimental results indicated that good linearity existed between the absorbance and concentration of SO2 at the chosen absorption peak. Moreover, the detection limit of the proposed detection system could reach the level of 10−7. The results of this paper could serve as a guide for the application of excimer lamp in online monitoring for SF6-insulated equipment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Communication
In Situ Femtosecond-Laser-Induced Fluorophores on Surface of Polyvinyl Alcohol for H2O/Co2+ Sensing and Data Security
Sensors 2021, 21(22), 7755; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21227755 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
In situ fluorophores were induced on polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) bulk materials by direct femtosecond laser writing. The generation of fluorophores was ascribed to localized laser-assisted carbonization. The carbonization of PVA polymers was confirmed through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. The distinct fluorescence responses of [...] Read more.
In situ fluorophores were induced on polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) bulk materials by direct femtosecond laser writing. The generation of fluorophores was ascribed to localized laser-assisted carbonization. The carbonization of PVA polymers was confirmed through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. The distinct fluorescence responses of fluorophores in various solutions were harnessed for implementing in situ reagent sensors, metal ion sensors, data encryption, and data security applications. The demonstrated water detection sensor in acetone exhibited a sensitivity of 3%. Meanwhile, a data encryption scheme and a “burn after reading” technique were demonstrated by taking advantage of the respective reversible and irreversible switching properties of the in situ laser-induced fluorophores. Taking a step further, a quantitative cobalt ion measurement was demonstrated based on the concentration-dependent fluorescence recovery. Combined with a laser-induced hydrophilic modification, our scheme could enable “lab-on-a-chip” microfluidics sensors with arbitrary shape, varied flow delay, designed reaction zones, and targeted functionalities in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Graphical abstract

Article
On-Site Calibration Method for Line-Structured Light Sensor-Based Railway Wheel Size Measurement System
Sensors 2021, 21(20), 6717; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21206717 - 09 Oct 2021
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Line-structured light has been widely used in the field of railway measurement, owing to its high capability of anti-interference, fast scanning speed and high accuracy. Traditional calibration methods of line-structured light sensors have the disadvantages of long calibration time and complicated calibration process, [...] Read more.
Line-structured light has been widely used in the field of railway measurement, owing to its high capability of anti-interference, fast scanning speed and high accuracy. Traditional calibration methods of line-structured light sensors have the disadvantages of long calibration time and complicated calibration process, which is not suitable for railway field application. In this paper, a fast calibration method based on a self-developed calibration device was proposed. Compared with traditional methods, the calibration process is simplified and the calibration time is greatly shortened. This method does not need to extract light strips; thus, the influence of ambient light on the measurement is reduced. In addition, the calibration error resulting from the misalignment was corrected by epipolar constraint, and the calibration accuracy was improved. Calibration experiments in laboratory and field tests were conducted to verify the effectiveness of this method, and the results showed that the proposed method can achieve a better calibration accuracy compared to a traditional calibration method based on Zhang’s method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Article
Investigation and Optimization of a Line-Locked Quartz Enhanced Spectrophone for Rapid Carbon Dioxide Measurement
Sensors 2021, 21(15), 5225; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21155225 - 02 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 700
Abstract
We have developed a rapid quartz enhanced spectrophone for carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement, in which the laser wavelength was tightly locked to a CO2 absorption line and a custom quartz tuning fork (QTF) operating at 12.5 kHz was employed. The [...] Read more.
We have developed a rapid quartz enhanced spectrophone for carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement, in which the laser wavelength was tightly locked to a CO2 absorption line and a custom quartz tuning fork (QTF) operating at 12.5 kHz was employed. The intrinsic QTF oscillation-limited response time, as well as the optimal feedback interval, was experimentally investigated. By tightly locking the laser to the R(16) transition of CO2, we obtained a stable laser operation with its center wavelength variation kept within 0.0002 cm−1, merely three times the laser linewidth. The reported CO2 sensor achieved a detection limit of 7 ppm, corresponding to a normalized noise equivalent absorption coefficient (NNEA) of 4.7 × 10−9 W·cm−1·Hz−1/2, at a response time of 0.5 s. The detection limit can be further improved to 0.45 ppm at an integration time of 270 s, illustrating a good system stability. This spectrophone enables the realization of compact and fast-response gas sensors for many scenarios, where CO2 concentration from sub-ppm to hundreds of thousands of ppm is expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Communication
Ultra-Highly Sensitive Hydrogen Chloride Detection Based on Quartz-Enhanced Photothermal Spectroscopy
Sensors 2021, 21(10), 3563; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103563 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1058
Abstract
Combining the merits of non-contact measurement and high sensitivity, the quartz-enhanced photothermal spectroscopy (QEPTS) technique is suitable for measuring acid gases such as hydrogen chloride (HCl). In this invited paper, we report, for the first time, on an ultra-highly sensitive HCl sensor based [...] Read more.
Combining the merits of non-contact measurement and high sensitivity, the quartz-enhanced photothermal spectroscopy (QEPTS) technique is suitable for measuring acid gases such as hydrogen chloride (HCl). In this invited paper, we report, for the first time, on an ultra-highly sensitive HCl sensor based on the QEPTS technique. A continuous wave, distributed feedback (CW-DFB) fiber-coupled diode laser with emission wavelength of 1.74 µm was used as the excitation source. A certified mixture of 500 ppm HCl:N2 was adapted as the analyte. Wavelength modulation spectroscopy was used to simplify the data processing. The wavelength modulation depth was optimized. The relationships between the second harmonic (2f) amplitude of HCl-QEPTS signal and the laser power as well as HCl concentration were investigated. An Allan variance analysis was performed to prove that this sensor had good stability and high sensitivity. The proposed HCl-QEPTS sensor can achieve a minimum detection limit (MDL) of ~17 parts per billion (ppb) with an integration time of 130 s. Further improvement of such an HCl-QEPTS sensor performance was proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Review

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Review
Monitoring Various Bioactivities at the Molecular, Cellular, Tissue, and Organism Levels via Biological Lasers
Sensors 2022, 22(9), 3149; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22093149 - 20 Apr 2022
Viewed by 315
Abstract
The laser is considered one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Biolasers employ high signal-to-noise ratio lasing emission rather than regular fluorescence as the sensing signal, directional out-coupling of lasing and excellent biocompatibility. Meanwhile, biolasers can also be micro-sized or smaller [...] Read more.
The laser is considered one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Biolasers employ high signal-to-noise ratio lasing emission rather than regular fluorescence as the sensing signal, directional out-coupling of lasing and excellent biocompatibility. Meanwhile, biolasers can also be micro-sized or smaller lasers with embedded/integrated biological materials. This article presents the progress in biolasers, focusing on the work done over the past years, including the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organism levels. Furthermore, biolasers have been utilized and explored for broad applications in biosensing, labeling, tracking, bioimaging, and biomedical development due to a number of unique advantages. Finally, we provide the possible directions of biolasers and their applications in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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Review
Recent Progress in Improving the Performance of Infrared Photodetectors via Optical Field Manipulations
Sensors 2022, 22(2), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22020677 - 16 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
Benefiting from the inherent capacity for detecting longer wavelengths inaccessible to human eyes, infrared photodetectors have found numerous applications in both military and daily life, such as individual combat weapons, automatic driving sensors and night-vision devices. However, the imperfect material growth and incomplete [...] Read more.
Benefiting from the inherent capacity for detecting longer wavelengths inaccessible to human eyes, infrared photodetectors have found numerous applications in both military and daily life, such as individual combat weapons, automatic driving sensors and night-vision devices. However, the imperfect material growth and incomplete device manufacturing impose an inevitable restriction on the further improvement of infrared photodetectors. The advent of artificial microstructures, especially metasurfaces, featuring with strong light field enhancement and multifunctional properties in manipulating the light–matter interactions on subwavelength scale, have promised great potential in overcoming the bottlenecks faced by conventional infrared detectors. Additionally, metasurfaces exhibit versatile and flexible integration with existing detection semiconductors. In this paper, we start with a review of conventionally bulky and recently emerging two-dimensional material-based infrared photodetectors, i.e., InGaAs, HgCdTe, graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides and black phosphorus devices. As to the challenges the detectors are facing, we further discuss the recent progress on the metasurfaces integrated on the photodetectors and demonstrate their role in improving device performance. All information provided in this paper aims to open a new way to boost high-performance infrared photodetectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Optical Sensors Technology in China 2021-2022)
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