Thursday, April 29, 2010

Organic Film IR Upconversion for Night Vision

Discovery: Florida University research group under Franky So lead describes a new night vision technology in a recent article in the journal Advanced Materials that was funded in part by DARPA.

Infrared light enters the film and is detected by the first of seven separate layers, which generates a slight electrical charge. Additional electrical energy -- about three to five volts -- amplifies that signal, which is then converted back into visible light.

Like most of today's night vision cameras, So's device emits an eerie green light. Unlike most night vision technology today, however, So's design would weigh less than 100 grams. Part of that weight is the proof of concept small size -- about one square centimeter -- but So says that even a full scale device could weigh as little as 10 grams and be only a few microns thick.

It will take about 18 months to scale up the device for practical applications, such as car windshields, lightweight night vision eyeglasses and cell phones cameras.

University Florida page adds some details about the new technology. All organic up-conversion devices are realized by integrating an OLED and an organic photodetector into one device. Prior art NIR-to-visible light up-conversion devices, integrating an inorganic LED with an inorganic photodetector, have been reported but the maximum external conversion efficiency was about 0.3%. Organic version is supposed to have an advantage in this.

Thanks to A.A. for sending me the link.


  1. but what is the usefulness in NIR band ?
    Can it go to SWIR band (1-2.5um) ?

  2. From the article:

    "[The] team also plans to create cell phones that can see, and more importantly, measure heat as well. A cell phone equipped with heat vision could instantly take a patient's body temperature to see if they had a fever. A car windshield could make pedestrians crossing the street much easier to see and avoid.

    Other scientists are enthusiastic about the new research. "This has a high potential to revolutionize night vision," said Yongli Gao, a professor at the University of Rochester. "It could be very useful in detecting heat loss from homes to reduce energy consumption, and for military applications as well.

    So, yes, it looks like these guys are able to push it into SWIR, MWIR or even father.

  3. I'm assuming the film has regenerative properties and doesn't produce a lasting after image or pattern burn from long term exposure.


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