The combination of conductors, semiconductors and insulators with well-defined geometries and at prescribed length scales, while forming intimate interfaces, is essential in most functional electronic and optoelectronic devices. These are typically produced using a variety of elaborate wafer-based processes, which allow for small features, but are restricted to planar geometries and limited coverage area1,2,3. In contrast, the technique of fibre drawing from a preformed reel or tube is simpler and yields extended lengths of highly uniform fibres with well-controlled geometries and good optical transport characteristics4. So far, this technique has been restricted to particular materials5,6,7 and larger features8,9,10,11,12. Here we report on the design, fabrication and characterization of fibres made of conducting, semiconducting and insulating materials in intimate contact and in a variety of geometries. We demonstrate that this approach can be used to construct a tunable fibre photodetector comprising an amorphous semiconductor core contacted by metallic microwires, and surrounded by a cylindrical-shell resonant optical cavity. Such a fibre is sensitive to illumination along its entire length (tens of meters), thus forming a photodetecting element of dimensionality one. We also construct a grid of such fibres that can identify the location of an illumination point. The advantage of this type of photodetector array is that it needs a number of elements of only order N, in contrast to the conventional order N2 for detector arrays made of photodetecting elements of dimensionality zero.
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M.B. thanks P. H. Prideaux for teaching him optical fibre drawing. We also thank N. Orf for glass transition temperature measurements, Y. Kuriki for taking SEM micrographs, and K. Kuriki for providing PEI polymer films. This work was supported in part by DARPA/Carrano and DARPA/Griggs, DARPA QUIST, the ARO, the ONR, the AFOSR HEL-MURI, the US DOE, the ISN, and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) programme of the NSF (with the use of their Shared Experimental Facilities).
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
Construction of a two-dimensional photoconducting transparent fibre web. (DOC 26 kb)
A two-dimensional photoconducting transparent fibre web. (JPG 96 kb)
Two-dimensional O(N) photoconducting fiber web tracking the location of a light beam: The photodetecting fibre web is shown beside a computer screen that displays the user interface for the program. When the light beam, from a flash light, is moved across the grid, a spot is generated and displayed on the computer screen at the corresponding location on the virtual grid. Once the beam is removed the point on the screen disappears, signifying that all the voltage drops on the fibers have returned to their dark values. (MPG 4304 kb)
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Bayindir, M., Sorin, F., Abouraddy, A. et al. Metal–insulator–semiconductor optoelectronic fibres. Nature 431, 826–829 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02937
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