Researchers at Northwestern University's Center for Quantum Dots (CQD) have developed new quantum dot infrared photodetectors (QDIPs) that could result in new imaging techniques for medical and biological imaging, night vision, and infrared imaging from space. Using nanotechnology to form the quantum dots, the team is close to achieving the goal of developing imaging techniques that can operate at higher temperatures.

Conventional infrared photon detector technology for imaging requires that the detector be cooled to very low temperatures, adding extra cost, more bulk, and higher power consumption, limiting their usability. Development of an infrared photon detector that can operate at higher temperatures will enable the use of cheaper, lighter, and more efficient cooling methods in the design of infrared imaging systems, according to CQD director, Manijeh Razeghi.

CQD researchers have used the technology to build an infrared camera based on the device. Thermal imaging was demonstrated at temperatures up to 200 degrees Kelvin- the highest ever demonstrated for a QDIP focal plane array.

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