Extremely Broadband High-speed Photodetector


High-speed photodetectors operate in a relatively narrow wavelength range. Conversely, extremely broadband detectors suffer from slow response speed.  A UW research team has developed a photodetector with both broadband detectivity and high-speed operation.  Optical measurements with high spatial resolution beyond the diffraction limit is generally difficult, requiring complex near-field microscopes.  By miniaturizing the detectors, a new simpler route for sub-diffraction limit measurements was developed.

Description of the invention

This is a sensor that has a very broad range of detection and a very rapid response time, a combination that is quite unique.

While there are other sensors that may target a specific range, this sensor has the capability to cover a very broad photodetection range from mid-infrared (MIR) to deep-ultraviolet (DUV).

The sensor accomplishes this by combining two semiconductors with different light response ranges (black phosphorus and 2H-MoTe2) in a unique vertical geometry to produce a broadband sensor with a high response bandwidth of 2.2 MHz.


This new sensor has the following advantages:

  • Room temperature operation
  • High speed operation
  • High sensitivity / detectivity
  • Wide spectral range operation from mid-infrared (MIR) to deep-ultraviolet (DUV)
  • Reduction of the number of sensors needed for multiple readings in different ranges.

Potential applications

This new sensor may be used anywhere that traditional sensors are used, including:

  • Optical communications
  • Remote sensing / security / defense
  • Process control
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Spectroscopy
  • Astronomy / space
  • Applications as a single point or area sensor

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Patent status

Patent application filed

Stage of development


Ongoing research


Scott Inwood

Director of Commercialization

Waterloo Commercialization Office

519-888-4567, ext. 43728