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Moscow team taps UV to improve smartphones and printers

The results of the research have been published in English in Advanced Functional Materials

Nov 10, 2016
Scientists at MIPT, a leading Moscow-based tech university, partnered with colleagues from Saudi Arabia and China in what appears to be a successful effort to improve the properties of photodetectors, the MIPT website announced. The researchers have discovered the ability of ultraviolet to change a simple photodetector, widely used in smartphones, printers and an array of other devices, into a broadband one.

As a rule, photodetectors react to narrow wavelengths, which creates lots of problems for developers. "Photodetectors that are able to "feel" broadband emission are in strong demand but are also very difficult to put together as materials for them are hard to come by; substances that are transparent for UV are usually nontransparent in the infrared spectrum span, and vice versa. We have found a rapid, economical and efficient way of broadening the photodetector’s sensitivity range," Vadim Agafonov, the head of MIPT’s Molecular Electronics Center, was quoted as saying.

The scientists looked into polymer photodetectors that work using their internal photo-effect, with the light rearranging electrons in the polymer, making it electrically conductive. Such photodetectors are different from conventional semiconductor ones as they are cheap and easy to produce, and can be made bendable. Experiments showed that UV emission can alter the device’s sensitivity upon impacting the surface of some of the photodetector’s components.