Monocrystals for Infrared Sensors

The image shows an AFM tip over one domain boundary of a ferroelectric single crystal.

By using new types of ferroelectric single crystals and manipulation of their domain structure, at the IMST we aim at developing a pyroelectric infrared detector with extraordinarily high specific detectivity, to enable a new generation of high-resolution pyroelectric detectors. Pyroelectric detectors belong to uncooled infrared detectors that are crucial for gas and liquid analyses, as well as fire and flame spectroscopy.

Main Applications are in the areas of

  • safety technology,
  • industrial control and
  • gas analyses for medical purposes.

The new types of ferroelectric single crystals that are based on lead magnesium niobate – lead titanate or lead indium magnesium niobate –lead titanate are characterized by higher pyroelectric properties in comparison to the standard lithium tantalate (LT) material. These properties can be boosted via domain structure manipulation. So far with these crystals a fourfold increase in the specific detectivity over that of  LT was obtained .