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Infrared photonic detectors (wavelengths between 2-20 microns) have been around since the 1960’s. Since then, detectors have evolved from single pixel detectors (1st Generation: 60-70s), linear arrays (2nd Generation: 80-90s) to large format arrays (3rd Generation: 2000-present). No matter the generation, infrared technologies have been used for a variety of purposes because they are able to carry unique chemical and thermal information. Most recently, the detectors have begun employing novel, designed semiconductor materials and which are required to be cool for sensitive operation. And sensitive operations have allowed the technology to be used for thermal imaging, security and defense, manufacturing quality control, and hazard detection. The strong intersection between our skill sets and the flexibility of infrared technology is one of the reasons why we are working in this specific industry.
Our group is paving the way for a fourth generation of infrared imaging systems and applications. These imagers will advance the state-of-the art in multiple dimensions: high operating temperature (HOT), large format (4K ✕ 4K), distinguishing multiple wavelengths simultaneously (multispectral), and using manufacturing processes that can be scaled to reduce cost and improve quality. In addition, we envision embedding additional, controllable specificity at the pixel level such as wavelength tunability, polarization, and phase. The culmination of these improvements is an infrared sensor/imager that behaves more like the human eye: able to capture a wide variety of spatial and color information, adjust on-the-fly based on the environment, and provide actionable information directly.
As we develop this new 4th generation infrared detector technology, we have summarized our goals as a group in these three categories.
- To investigate cutting edge IR technology for IR detection
- To commercialize novel IR detector technology
- To train world class graduate students in the IR field and prepare them to contribute globally.
Research Methodology of KIND lab
In our efforts to achieve the aforementioned goals, we have implemented a research methodology that is instrumental in our progress. Our ‘Design to Image Methodology’ is illustrated in the diagram below.
Design, Materials, Make, Manufacture. Our methodology enables us to advance the state-of-the-art at any of those four stages in the engineering process. By familiarizing them with this methodology we teach our students to innovate at any stage in the process, especially in the area they are focused in. We believe that this is a valuable skill to learn, whether they stay with us at OSU or move onto different career paths.
To learn more about these research projects depicted in our diagram, check out our recent conference presentations and journal publications.
To execute our research methodology, we develop and maintain dedicated lab systems (molecular beam epitaxial growth, infrared material characterization, and infrared detector and imager characterization), make use of OSU user-facilities, and work with collaborators in the public and private sector.