Best material for IR absorption

Hi all,

I am looking for the best material for IR (infra red) absorption, preferably something that I can make it into a thin film; any material that would work from semiconductors, metals to more exotic materials like graphene or...

I appreciate your help.

Thank you
 

f95toli

Science Advisor
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It is not that simple.
If you just want to e.g. make an optical filter that blocks IR (for e.g. a window in a cryostat) various plastics work well (I know people who litteraly use pieces of a plastic bags from the supermarket).
However, if you want "high-end" absorbtion you need to know the wavelength you are looking at because I don't think there is a single material that works well for the whole IR part of the spectra.
If you are using thin films you will also need to use multi-layer anti-reflection coatings in order to reduce the reflectivity. If this is done you can even use various metals as the actual absorber (IR bolometers can use all sorts of materials as the absorber, even gold).
 
It is not that simple.
if you want "high-end" absorbtion you need to know the wavelength you are looking at because I don't think there is a single material that works well for the whole IR part of the spectra.
If you are using thin films you will also need to use multi-layer anti-reflection coatings in order to reduce the reflectivity. If this is done you can even use various metals as the actual absorber (IR bolometers can use all sorts of materials as the absorber, even gold).

Thank you, f95toli! In fact, I am interested in telecom wavelengths: 1550 nm or 1310 nm. Since the number of photons are very limited we need to absorb as much as we can.
 
Are you measuring the intensity of radiation to/from cell phones?
 

Cthugha

Science Advisor
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So you want some kind of detector?

What are your requirements? Do you need spatial resolution? Temporal resolution? Will you be able to cool it to reduce noise? Do you need spectral resolution? Do you need single photon sensitivity?

If you want something like a photo diode, InGaAs, Ge or InSb are some of the obvious choices for the IR.
 
Are you measuring the intensity of radiation to/from cell phones?
Hi ThereIam, No, not cell phones. Just detecting few photons of 1550nm or 1310nm photons at the end of an optical fiber.
Thanks
 
So you want some kind of detector?

What are your requirements? Do you need spatial resolution? Temporal resolution? Will you be able to cool it to reduce noise? Do you need spectral resolution? Do you need single photon sensitivity?

If you want something like a photo diode, InGaAs, Ge or InSb are some of the obvious choices for the IR.
Thank you, Cthugha! Yes, I want it for a detector. I can cool it down to 4.2K too. Single photon sensitivity is also required. I need the maximum absorption for the thinnest possible film, say a few nano meter. Spectral resolution is not an issue as long as either telecom freqs i.e. 1310 or 1550 is covered. The higher the bandwidth, even the better.
Thanks
 

Cthugha

Science Advisor
1,798
173
If you really need single photon sensitivity, this will be hard to achieve using just a thin film of a material without using something more complicated.

One way to achieve single photon sensitivity in the IR is an avalanche photo diode design. Here, InGaAs and InP are typical materials. A different and relatively new way are Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. They are typically made of NbN or something similar. You might want to google these. I am not quite up to date what the most efficient designs of these are.
 

f95toli

Science Advisor
2,883
395
A different and relatively new way are Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. They are typically made of NbN or something similar. You might want to google these. I am not quite up to date what the most efficient designs of these are.
They are generally made from thin (a few nm) NbN films. However, in order to increase the absolute efficienty they also use multi-layer anti-reflection coating which is what I mentioned above.

If you want single photon sensitivity I am afraid this is one of those "if you have to ask" questions, there is simply no way you will be able to do this yourself.
Your best bet is to get a complete system from somewhere, either a company or a university group.
 

Cthugha

Science Advisor
1,798
173
If you want single photon sensitivity I am afraid this is one of those "if you have to ask" questions, there is simply no way you will be able to do this yourself.
Your best bet is to get a complete system from somewhere, either a company or a university group.
I should have made this more clear, but this is my opinion, too. Unless the guy who opened this thread works in a group specialized in building detectors, this is not a do-it-yourself thing. Right now, there are many groups studying potential single photon sources at telecom wavelengths. If this is about that topic, too, the easiest way to demonstrate single photon emission lies in getting two good avalanche photo diodes in the IR and a good coincidence counting circuit and work with these. For the cost of the working time a typical PhD student will need to design something even remotely similar, you can buy a lot of these devices for sure.
 

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