Philippe Roelli proposes a new path to detect infrared radiation with outstanding sensitivity, allowing detection of signals as low as that of a single quantum of light. The related publication can be found in Physical Review X.
When using our webcam or cell phone camera, we experience the tremendous capabilities of cheap and compact sensors developed in the past decades for the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. On the contrary, detection of lower frequency radiation not visible to the human eye (such as mid- and far-infrared radiation) requires complex and costly equipment. Lack of a compact technology impedes widespread access to sensors for the recognition of molecules and the imaging of thermal radiation naturally emitted by our bodies. A new conceptual breakthrough in this field may therefore have tremendous impacts in our daily lives. See more.