Infrared Responsivity of a Pyroelectric Detector with a Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube Coating

E. Theocharous, C. Engtrakul, A. C. Dillon, J. Lehman

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The performance of a 10 mm diameter pyroelectric detector coated with a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) was evaluated in the 0.8 to 20 μm wavelength range. The relative spectral responsivity of this detector exhibits significant fluctuations over the wavelength range examined. This is consistent with independent absorbance measurements, which show that SWCNTs exhibit selective absorption bands in the visible and near-infrared. The performance of the detector in terms of noise equivalent power and detectivity in wavelength regions of high coating absorptivity was comparable with gold-black-coated pyroelectric detectors based on 50 m thick LiTaO3 crystals. The response of this detector was shown to be nonlinear for DC equivalent photocurrents > 10-9 A, and its spatial uniformity of response was comparable with other pyroelectric detectors utilizing gold-black coatings. The nonuniform spectral responsivity exhibited by the SWCNT-coated detector is expected to severely restrict the use of SWCNTs as black coatings for thermal detectors. However, the deposition of SWCNT coatings on a pyroelectric crystal followed by the study of the prominence of the spectral features in the relative spectral responsivity of the resultant pyroelectric detectors is shown to provide an effective method for quantifying the impurity content in SWCNT samples.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3999-4003
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 2008

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-590-44673


  • basic sciences
  • nanomaterials


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