New multi-wavelength infrared sensor and its application characteristics analysis

According to sources, a research group of the International Center for Materials Nanostructures (WPI-MANA) under the National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS) invented a new multi-wavelength infrared sensor capable of detecting thermal radiation at specific wavelengths. The new multi-wavelength infrared sensor has a range of applications including temperature, specific imaging of materials and remote sensing of air pollution.

Infrared spectroscopy is a powerful technique for identifying chemical species by analyzing the vibrational absorption of chemical substances. It is also a powerful tool for characterizing the optical properties of narrow bandgap semiconductors, quantum well emitters and heat absorbers. In general, each material has its own characteristic emission spectrum. For example, a gas has a sharp emission line, and the spectrometer can identify a specific type of gas molecule. However, most infrared sensors have no wavelength resolution and cannot detect the entire integration intensity, limiting the information that can be obtained from the material.

WPI-MANA's new multi-wavelength infrared sensor features ultra-narrowband resolution and high directivity, so it can sense gas and measure object temperature without pre-calibrating its emission intensity and temperature.

The new multi-wavelength infrared sensor detects thermal radiation at specific wavelengths and limits its direction of incidence. The team mapped a periodic pattern of electromagnetic nanoabsorbers on the metal surface so that the incident thermal radiation diffracted and propagated parallel to the surface of the absorber. The diffracted wave is hybridized with surface plasmons on the periodic metal surface and produces a thermal signal, while it propagates in a very narrow window at the angle and wavelength range of the incident thermal radiation.

The result of the application is that if a multi-band infrared sensor is installed on a single chip with a wavelength resolution of 50 nm and directivity better than ±1°, the new multi-wavelength infrared sensor will become the world's highest performing infrared sensor. At the same time, it is likely to bring a range of new products, including micro-spectral infrared devices for true temperature and high temperature measurement, gas imaging, high angular resolution position and motion sensing, material specific imaging and environmental sensing.

It is reported that this research was carried out by Toshihiko Hasegawa (MANA Principal Investigator, Photonics Nano Engineering Team Leader) and his collaborators.