Broadband infrared photodetection using a narrow bandgap conjugated polymer

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Science Advances  09 Jun 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 24, eabg2418
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg2418


Photodetection spanning the short-, mid-, and long-wave infrared (SWIR-LWIR) underpins modern science and technology. Devices using state-of-the-art narrow bandgap semiconductors require complex manufacturing, high costs, and cooling requirements that remain prohibitive for many applications. We report high-performance infrared photodetection from a donor-acceptor conjugated polymer with broadband SWIR-LWIR operation. Electronic correlations within the π-conjugated backbone promote a high-spin ground state, narrow bandgap, long-wavelength absorption, and intrinsic electrical conductivity. These previously unobserved attributes enabled the fabrication of a thin-film photoconductive detector from solution, which demonstrates specific detectivities greater than 2.10 × 109 Jones. These room temperature detectivities closely approach those of cooled epitaxial devices. This work provides a fundamentally new platform for broadly applicable, low-cost, ambient temperature infrared optoelectronics.

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