Science and Engineering

University of Michigan

Zhaohui Zhong, Ted Norris, Jeff Fessler
Ann Arbor, MI
$1,200,000
December 2015

From early cave drawings to digital photography, breakthroughs in humankind’s ability to record images have always been driving forces for modern civilization.  In the digital age, the core of image recording technology is a photodetector - a device translating a two-dimensional (2D) distribution of the light intensity into an electrical signal.  The basic configuration of imaging systems has barely changed for decades despite ever-burgeoning consumer photo and video electronics and the increasingly central role of imaging in medical and industrial applications.  The light rays emanating from 3D objects in a scene, however, contain additional spatial and angle information (the 4D light field).  This project will create a new light detection technology platform able to recover the light-field of any scene.  The research is enabled by the development of graphene and related atomic-layer crystals together with the invention of novel nanophotonic devices.  These 2D atomic crystals offer unique opportunities for high sensitivity, ultimately thin, and transparent photodetectors, something unimaginable with conventional photodetectors.  This investigation of light-field nanophotonics could not only broaden our basic knowledge of light sensing and imaging, but also open up previously unimaginable opportunities for frontier optoelectronic applications.

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