Polymer Engineering Faculty Research

High-detectivity polymer photodetectors with spectral response from 300 nm to 1450 nm

Xiong Gong, The University of Akron


Sensing from the ultraviolet-visible to the infrared is critical for a variety of industrial and scientific applications. Today, gallium nitride–, silicon-, and indium gallium arsenide–-based detectors are used for different sub-bands within the ultraviolet to near-infrared wavelength range. We demonstrate polymer photodetectors with broad spectral response (300 to 1450 nanometers) fabricated by using a small-band-gap semiconducting polymer blended with a fullerene derivative. Operating at room temperature, the polymer photodetectors exhibit detectivities greater than 1012 cm Hz1/2/W and a linear dynamic range over 100 decibels. The self-assembled nanomorphology and device architecture result in high photodetectivity over this wide spectral range and reduce the dark current (and noise) to values well below dark currents obtained in narrow-band photodetectors made with inorganic semiconductors.