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Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond 'Predator'

Date:
November 4, 2015
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Movies such as 1987's 'Predator,' in which an alien who sees in the infrared hunts down Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team, introduced a generation of sci-fi fans to thermal imaging. Since then, heat-sensing devices have found many real-word applications but have remained relatively expensive and rigid. But a new development featuring graphene could lead to a flexible, transparent and low-cost infrared vision system.
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A thermal sensor made out of graphene could lead to better night vision technology.
Credit: American Chemical Society

Movies such as 1987's "Predator," in which an alien who sees in the infrared hunts down Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team, introduced a generation of sci-fi fans to thermal imaging. Since then, heat-sensing devices have found many real-word applications but have remained relatively expensive and rigid. But a new development featuring graphene, reported in ACS' journal Nano Letters, could lead to a flexible, transparent and low-cost infrared vision system.

The concept of humans -- or aliens -- having the power to see in the infrared to help fight enemies in the dark has been around for decades. Technology has allowed real-life military, police, firefighters and others to do their jobs successfully at night and in smoky conditions. It also helps manufacturers and building inspectors identify overheating equipment or circuits. But currently, many of these systems require cryogenic cooling to filter out background radiation, or "noise," and create a reliable image. This approach, however, complicates the design of these imaging devices, and adds to the cost and the unit's bulkiness. Tomás Palacios, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero and colleagues wanted to find a more practical solution.

The researchers integrated graphene with silicon microelectromechanical systems (known as MEMS) to make their device. Testing showed it could be used to detect a person's heat signature at room temperature without cryogenic cooling. In the future, advances could make the device even more versatile. The researchers say that a thermal sensor could be based on a single layer of graphene, which would make it transparent and flexible. Also, manufacturing could be simplified, which would bring costs down.


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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Allen L. Hsu, Patrick K. Herring, Nathaniel M. Gabor, Sungjae Ha, Yong Cheol Shin, Yi Song, Matthew Chin, Madan Dubey, Anantha P. Chandrakasan, Jing Kong, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Tomás Palacios. Graphene-Based Thermopile for Thermal Imaging Applications. Nano Letters, 2015; 151020155252008 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01755

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond 'Predator'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104095100.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2015, November 4). Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond 'Predator'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104095100.htm
American Chemical Society. "Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond 'Predator'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104095100.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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