Shape-Engineered Nanoscale Thermocouples


Infrared detectors can be created using antennas attached to a nanowire thermocouple formed out of a single metal.  LWIR (Long-wave Infrared ), Thermal imaging (especially sensitive room-temperature thermal detection, i.e. black-body detection), and hyperspectral applications are possible by forming a thermopile out of the devices.  Manufacturing is simplified over bimetallic thermocouples where standard nanoimprint lithography tools can be used.  This technology can also be used to embed radiant energy scavenging devices into integrated circuits.


By generating a thermocouple response from a mono-metallic device, which uses cross-sectional shape modification instead of dissimilar metals, we envision a radically simpler and cheaper manufacturing process.  These devices can then be incorporated into Infrared detectors which are used by first responders, emergency services personnel, and the military.  IR detectors provide the ability to detect the presence of gases or objects without using the visible light spectrum.  Similarly these devices can be used in hyperspectral images which pull in information about a scene over a wide set of wavelengths.  Hyperspectral imanges are used in agriculture, geographic, and in situations where IR detection requires augmentation.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
John Henry
University of Notre Dame
Wolfgang Porod
Gary Bernstein
Alexei Orlov
Gergo Szakmany
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