Optical sensing and imaging has evolved from taking digital images to a powerful metrology, imaging and data acquisition technique by expanding the spectral coverage from the visible to the short-wave infrared (SWIR). SWIR sensing and imaging is the cornerstone of advanced imaging techniques for 3D visualization, night vision, imaging though adverse weather conditions, biomedical imaging, spectroscopy for food quality and health monitoring, just to name a few. The huge market size of such applications, especially by entering volume markets including consumer electronics and automotive, has led to the first commercial appearances of low cost CMOS compatible SWIR photodetectors and image sensors. Yet for the realization of the afore-mentioned technologies the optical source is an equally important and crucial component to be considered at system level. To date, there is a lack of infrared optical sources that are CMOS compatible, low-cost with competitive performance over the standard costly epitaxial III-V light emitters. Moreover high cost and epitaxial growth manufacturing processes have limited the size and form factor of those sources to small and rigid elements preventing their use as high power and large area illumination sources.
SWIRL will undertake this challenge to develop high performance low-cost SWIR optical sources with tuneable emission peaks and spectral bandwidths across the eye-safety SWIR window, exploiting colloidal quantum dot technology.
By leveraging engineering at the nanoscale and solution processed materials we will develop in TRL4/5 SWIR optical emitters that are low-cost, high efficiency, even rivalling their epitaxial counterparts, and spectrally versatile across the SWIR. We will further demonstrate their use in key applications related to automotive industry as optical sources for active SWIR imaging and in-cabin monitoring in the eye-safety infrared window.