Photodetector is a device that converts information carried by light into an electrical signal. This technology is used in a wide range of technologies such as gaming consoles, fiber optic communication, medical imaging, and motion detectors. Current photodetectors are unable to sense more than one color in the one device.

RMIT University researchers have developed a photodetector that can detect different shades of light in a prototype device made from nano-thin technology. This is at least 1,000 times thinner than the smallest commercially available photodetector device.

Study lead author and RMIT researcher Vaishnavi Krishnamurthi said making a material in photodetection technologies thinner usually came at the expense of performance.

“But we managed to engineer a device that packs a powerful punch, despite being thinner than a nanometre, which is roughly a million times smaller than the width of a pinhead.”

Vaishnavi Krishnamurthi

This is a significant achievement for the technology as the prototype device can also see all shades of light between ultraviolet and near infrared, opening new opportunities to integrate electrical and optical components on the same chip.