Light detection is one of the elementary pillars of modern technology, shaping the information-based society via fiber-optic communication, storing terabytes of knowledge, enabling us to explore the outer space, advance our ability to diagnose and monitor ailments, and develop remote sensing technologies similar to LiDAR to map Earth and monitor the weather.
Advanced light sensors are what makes all of this possible, and they’re playing a significant role in getting future developments such as visible-light communication (VLC) off the ground. Existing WiFi networks use radio waves to provide wireless connections. In contrast, VLC or Li-Fi uses light emitted by regular LED lightbulbs to allow data transfer at speeds of as much as 224 gigabits per second.
In order to help the transition to this technology, a group of researchers from the InnovationLab in Heidelberg and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has developed a new technique of producing light sensors that are able to detect mild in the visible spectrum by an easy-to-use 3D-printing course.
Their research featured in Advanced Materials and is based on re-purposing materials that are already well-suited to developing such sensors. Particularly, the group factors out that organic photodiodes — already utilized in light-sensing gadgets — are appearing for this purpose because they’re light in weight, flexible, and their properties are tuned at both the fabric and device levels.
3D printing would enable the high-throughput manufacturing of units with the full freedom of design — the trick is minimizing the complexity of production.