This sounds like something out of a spy thriller movie: wearing a contact lens that provides infrared vision, but doesn’t cover your face. This is possible thanks to the University of Michigan’s research.
To create their infrared contact lenses, the Michigan researchers used graphene’s optical capabilities. IBM demonstrated last year some photoconductivity mechanisms in graphene, making it an attractive infrared detector.
Graphene can detect all infrared wavelengths, as well as visible and ultraviolet light. Graphene can also give away. Graphene can only absorb 2.3 percent light because it is only one atom thick. This is insufficient to produce an electrical signal. Without a signal, graphene can’t function as an infrared sensor.
In a press release, ZHZ, an assistant professor at Michigan, stated that the current generation of graphene detectors faces a challenge because their sensitivity is often very low. It’s 100 to 1000 times less than what a commercial device would need.
Researchers from Michigan developed a new method to generate the electrical signal in a research article published in Nature Nanotechnology. Instead of measuring the electrons released by light striking the material, the researchers amplified an electric current near the electrical signals produced by the incoming sunlight.