The Penn State researchers responsible for this project created a device with a resolution of 900 pixels using a material the thickness of an atom. They write about how they managed to achieve this impressive final effect in the pages nature materials.
The authors explain not only how they made their device, but also where it can be used. But let’s go back to the beginning. Sensors that react to light are becoming very popular, and lights that turn on when motion is detected are a prime example of this. It usually consists of a grid of pixels that interact with light. The performance of these sensors depends on the interaction measurements and the waves they detect.
When the scientists behind the new developments noticed that most of these sensors were relatively inefficient, they decided to take on the challenge. Their goal was to increase efficiency in order to put an end to devices using far more electricity than they should. The first step was to replace the commonly used backbone with molybdenum disulfide. This can be stacked like graphene to form a single layer.
Using vapor deposition, team members spread sensors onto a sapphire substrate. The next step was to transfer the final structure onto a silicon dioxide substrate containing nanowires. To complete the work, they installed additional wires on top. The resulting grid is 30 by 30, and each pixel is capable of detecting light and is reusable.
It is noteworthy that the authors achieved their intended goal: each pixel consumed less than a picojoule of energy. Another positive aspect of this design is the ease of resetting the sensor. Less comfortable is the fact that it reacts to light more slowly than the devices currently in use. As far as one can think of applications, for example, in the context of the so-called Internet of Things, it is difficult to imagine that this type of sensor will invade the world of photography.
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