NIR (SWIR) Image Sensors

Home Applications NIR (SWIR) Image Sensors

Near infrared (NIR) or short-wave infrared (SWIR) sensing in the range from 900 – 2500 nm is becoming ever more important in fields such as machine vision (for food and goods quality inspection and control, plastics sorting), automotive applications (for 3D aerial and geographic mapping, advanced driver-assistance systems at night and adverse weather conditions (mist/fog/snow)), smartphone cameras (for biometrics and 3D photography), AR and VR headsets (for eyes tracking), in night vision and surveillance. Current cameras based on hybrid InGaAs technology have high production costs and subsequently high prices (over $10,000). They also have  narrow sensitivity ranges (up to 1700 nm) and limited camera resolution (<1.36 MP).

QDot™ quantum dots can be monolithically integrated on to  silicon CMOS read-out integrated circuits (ROIC) making them an ideal solution. They are 10-1000 times more cost effective than InGaAs cameras and are thus more economical,  and they can be used to produce high resolution (up to 10 MP) images sensors with broadband sensitivity (300-2500 nm). Read more about basics of this technology and how it compares with other technologies.

Technical data

QDot™ quantum dots can yield the following benefits when used in NIR (SWIR) sensors:

  • They can be easily integrated into silicon CMOS ROIC through printing/spin-coating manufacturing processes. This results in a high resolution and low cost
  • They have broad sensitivity in both visible and NIR (SWIR) ranges, from 300 nm up to 2500 nm (tuneable based of quantum dots particle size)
  • They have superior photoelectrical properties, with high devices EQE and detectivity, as well as low dark current.
SWIR photodetector device architecture:

SENSOR PERFORMANCE:

Parameter
Typical values
Sensitivity range
300 – 2500 nm (tuneable)
EQE
Up to 60 %
Specific detectivity
Up to 1x1011 cm∙Hz1/2/W (Jones)
Dark current
< 10 – 1000 nA/cm2
Pixel pitch
< 2 - 20 μm
Cooling requirements
Room temperature or TEC
SWIR sensor price
10-1000x lower than InGaAs

DEVICE EXAMPLES AND CASE STUDIES:

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