Infrared Detector (Technology #: 052808-01)


The given invention features a novel device for bolometric sensing of incident mid and far IR radiation. The technology employs a freestanding entangled 2-dimensional network of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT). Such suspended SWCNT networks have a large bolometric response over a wide temperature range, including room temperature. They have a high absorption coefficient, high temperature coefficient of resistance, and extremely low thermal mass. As a result of these properties, the networks have a dramatically fast temporal response, which gives this technology excellent potential as a low cost, uncooled IR detector element. Current sensor technologies involve the use of an individual nanotube, however discrepancies from one nanotube to the next make scaled-up production of such devices impossible. The given technology provides this ability to mass produce while retaining a statistically equivalent response level. Furthermore, by utilizing selective removal of a sacrificial oxide layer to form a resonator cavity under the nanotube network, complicated and expensive multistep lithography is avoided.

Frame rates in excess of 10 kHz are conservatively expected with SWCNT microbolometers. This substantial improvement expands the application domain of the proposed microbolometers to image fast changing scenes, with in turn improves situational awareness.

  • Frame rates in excess of 10 kHz
  • Faster response and shorter residual image hold than is achieved with current methods due to extremely low thermal mass and thermal conductivity
  • Sensitivity comparable or superior to that of conventional Si or VOx bolometers due to high absorption coefficient and high temperature coefficient of resistance(TCR)
  • Reduction in cost from current systems by using a single-step removal of a sacrificial oxide layer as opposed to multi-step lithography used in conventional microbolometer fabrication
  • Mass production potential


The technology has potential applications in infrared cameras, imaging equipment, and detectors.These applications may be highly useful in the defense industry, e.g. missile detection, as well as the aerospace and medical industries.


US utility patent and Canadian national phase PCT applications have been filed for this technology.

Himanshu Jain's Lehigh Page

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Yatin Karpe
Associate Director
Lehigh University
Himanshu Jain
Jiri Cech
Venkataraman Swaminathan
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