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are used in everything from medical X-ray systems to monitoring experiments at CERN. Although the tiny device measures no more than 8 x 8mm it takes eight weeks to produce, and the entire fabrication needs to take place in a super-clean environment.
Photo: This is what the raw material of the sensor looks like. © SINTEF
The sensor is produced by oxidising the silicon wafer in several stages, creating a physical structure on nanometre scale. Once this has been done, the scientists dope it with charged atoms at various le- vels. The result is an incredibly light-sensitive diode which, once it has been connected to the appropri- ate electronics, can reveal changes in the physical structure of most materials. The sensor uses spec- troscopy, which is based on sending light through a transparent object. When the light beam emerges from the other side of the object, the sensor read off changes in its characteristics.
“The sensor consists of a double-sided microstruc- ture that is fabricated on silican wafers. Such struc- tures are complex, and difficult to produce. Today, we are one of only two or three suppliers of such sensors in the whole world,” says research scientist Niaz Ahmed.
12-02 :: February/March 2012
An innovative component that emits single photons has now been introduced by a research team of Jens Pflaum at the Institute of Physics of the Uni- versity of Wuerzburg, Germany. The innovative light source has more than just one advantage: It consists of standard materials for organic light-emit- ting diodes, is pretty easy to manufacture and can be electrically controlled. What‘s most important: It works at room temperature.
The innovative component with which single photons can be produced at room temperature. The optically active area of the component is about 2mm (0.08inch) in diameter. © Benedikt Stender
Maximilian Nothaft, Steffen Höhla, Fedor Jelezko, Nor- bert Frühauf, Jens Pflaum & Jörg Wrachtrup: Electri- cally driven photon antibunching from a single mole- cule at room temperature, In: Nature Communications, Vol. 3(2012), January 17, 2012, Article number 628, DOI:10.1038/ncomms1637: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1637