Graphene is the most promising new material out there, likely to revolutionize the way we do or build almost everything!
Graphene is capable of detecting the entire infrared spectrum, with visible and ultraviolet light thrown in. But where graphene giveth, it also taketh away. Because graphene is only one atom thick, it can absorb only 2.3 percent of the light that hits it. This is not enough to generate an electrical signal and without a signal, it can’t operate as a infrared sensor.
"The challenge for the current generation of graphene-based detectors is that their sensitivity is typically very poor," said Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, in a press release. "It's a hundred to a thousand times lower than what a commercial device would require."
In research that was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology ("url=http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2014.31.html] Graphene photodetectors with ultra-broadband and high responsivity at room temperature"), the Michigan researchers devised a new method for generating the electrical signal. Instead of trying to measure the electrons that are released when the light strikes the material, they amplified an electrical current that is near the electrical signals generated by the incoming light.