Article | Published:

Dual-band infrared imaging using stacked colloidal quantum dot photodiodes

Nature Photonicsvolume 13pages277282 (2019) | Download Citation


Infrared multispectral imaging is attracting great interest with the increasing demand for sensitive, low-cost and scalable devices that can distinguish coincident spectral information. However, the widespread use of such detectors is still limited by the high cost of epitaxial semiconductors. In contrast, the solution processability and wide spectral tunability of colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) have inspired various inexpensive, high-performance optoelectronic devices. Here, we demonstrate a two-terminal CQD dual-band detector, which provides a bias-switchable spectral response in two distinct bands. A vertical stack of two rectifying junctions in a back-to-back diode configuration is created by engineering a strong and spatially stable doping process. By controlling the bias polarity and magnitude, the detector can be rapidly switched between short-wave infrared and mid-wave infrared at modulation frequencies up to 100 kHz with D* above 1010 jones at cryogenic temperature. The detector performance is illustrated by dual-band infrared imaging and remote temperature monitoring.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


  1. 1.

    Rogalski, A. Toward third generation HgCdTe infrared detectors. J. Alloys Compd 371, 53–57 (2004).

  2. 2.

    Rogalski, A., Antoszewski, J. & Faraone, L. Third-generation infrared photodetector arrays. J. Appl. Phys. 105, 091101 (2009).

  3. 3.

    Ames, C. et al. High-performance SWIR/MWIR and MWIR/MWIR bispectral MCT detectors by AIM. In Infrared Technology and Application s XLIV (eds Fulop, G. F., Hanson, C. M., Norton, P. R., Andresen, B. F. & Miller, J. L.) Vol. 10624, 106240S (SPIE, 2018).

  4. 4.

    Cervera, C. et al. Low-dark current p-on-n MCT detector in long and very long-wavelength infrared. In Infrared Technology and Applications XLI (eds Andresen, B. F., Fulop, G. F., Hanson, C. M. & Norton, P. R.) Vol. 9451, 945129 (SPIE, 2015).

  5. 5.

    Sarusi, G. QWIP or other alternative for third generation infrared systems. Infrared Phys. Technol. 44, 439–444 (2003).

  6. 6.

    Haddadi, A., Dehzangi, A., Chevallier, R., Adhikary, S. & Razeghi, M. Bias–selectable nBn dual–band long–/very long–wavelength infrared photodetectors based on InAs/InAs1−xSbx/AlAs1−xSbx type-II superlattices. Sci. Rep. 7, 3379 (2017).

  7. 7.

    Haddadi, A., Chevallier, R., Chen, G., Hoang, A. M. & Razeghi, M. Bias-selectable dual-band mid-/long-wavelength infrared photodetectors based on InAs/InAs1−xSbx type-II superlattices. Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 011104 (2015).

  8. 8.

    Lloyd, J. M. Thermal Imaging Systems (Springer Science & Business Media, New York, NY, 2013).

  9. 9.

    González, A. et al. Pedestrian detection at day/night time with visible and FIR cameras: a comparison. Sensors 16, 820 (2016).

  10. 10.

    Liu, Z., Ukida, H., Ramuhalli, P. & Niel, K. Integrated Imaging and Vision Techniques for Industrial Inspection (Springer, New York, NY, 2015).

  11. 11.

    Bao, J. & Bawendi, M. G. A colloidal quantum dot spectrometer. Nature 523, 67–70 (2015).

  12. 12.

    Konstantatos, G. et al. Hybrid graphene–quantum dot phototransistors with ultrahigh gain. Nat. Nanotechnol. 7, 363–368 (2012).

  13. 13.

    Nikitskiy, I. et al. Integrating an electrically active colloidal quantum dot photodiode with a graphene phototransistor. Nat. Commun. 7, 11954 (2016).

  14. 14.

    Goossens, S. et al. Broadband image sensor array based on graphene–CMOS integration. Nat. Photon. 11, 366–371 (2017).

  15. 15.

    Wu, K., Park, Y.-S., Lim, J. & Klimov, V. I. Towards zero-threshold optical gain using charged semiconductor quantum dots. Nat. Nanotechnol. 12, 1140–1147 (2017).

  16. 16.

    Yuan, F. et al. Engineering triangular carbon quantum dots with unprecedented narrow bandwidth emission for multicolored LEDs. Nat. Commun. 9, 2249 (2018).

  17. 17.

    Konstantatos, G. & Sargent, E. H. Nanostructured materials for photon detection. Nat. Nanotechnol. 5, 391–400 (2010).

  18. 18.

    Kovalenko, M. V. Opportunities and challenges for quantum dot photovoltaics. Nat. Nanotechnol. 10, 994–997 (2015).

  19. 19.

    Wang, X. et al. Tandem colloidal quantum dot solar cells employing a graded recombination layer. Nat. Photon. 5, 480–484 (2011).

  20. 20.

    Saran, R. & Curry, R. J. Lead sulphide nanocrystal photodetector technologies. Nat. Photon. 10, 81–92 (2016).

  21. 21.

    Böberl, M., Kovalenko, M. V., Gamerith, S., List, E. J. W. & Heiss, W. Inkjet-printed nanocrystal photodetectors operating up to 3 μm wavelengths. Adv. Mater. 19, 3574–3578 (2007).

  22. 22.

    Jagtap, A. et al. Short wave infrared devices based on hgte nanocrystals with air stable performances. J. Phys. Chem. C 122, 14979–14985 (2018).

  23. 23.

    Ackerman, M. M., Tang, X. & Guyot-Sionnest, P. Fast and sensitive colloidal quantum dot mid-wave infrared photodetectors. ACS Nano 12, 7264–7271 (2018).

  24. 24.

    Tang, X., Ackerman, M. M. & Guyot-Sionnest, P. Thermal imaging with plasmon resonance enhanced hgte colloidal quantum dot photovoltaic devices. ACS Nano 12, 7362–7370 (2018).

  25. 25.

    Keuleyan, S., Lhuillier, E. & Guyot-Sionnest, P. Synthesis of colloidal hgte quantum dots for narrow mid-IR emission and detection. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133, 16422–16424 (2011).

  26. 26.

    Keuleyan, S., Lhuillier, E., Brajuskovic, V. & Guyot-Sionnest, P. Mid-infrared HgTe colloidal quantum dot photodetectors. Nat. Photon. 5, 489–493 (2011).

  27. 27.

    Guyot-Sionnest, P. & Roberts, J. A. Background limited mid-infrared photodetection with photovoltaic HgTe colloidal quantum dots. Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 253104 (2015).

  28. 28.

    Keuleyan, S. E., Guyot-Sionnest, P., Delerue, C. & Allan, G. Mercury telluride colloidal quantum dots: electronic structure, size-dependent spectra, and photocurrent detection up to 12 μm. ACS Nano 8, 8676–8682 (2014).

  29. 29.

    Tang, X., Wu, Gfu & Lai, K. W. C. Plasmon resonance enhanced colloidal HgSe quantum dot filterless narrowband photodetectors for mid-wave infrared. J. Mater. Chem. C 5, 362–369 (2017).

  30. 30.

    Goubet, N. et al. Terahertz HgTe nanocrystals: beyond confinement. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 5033–5036 (2018).

  31. 31.

    Buurma, C. et al. MWIR imaging with low cost colloidal quantum dot films. In Optical Sensing, Imaging, and Photon Counting: Nanostructured Devices and Applications (eds Razeghi, M., Temple, D. S. & Brown, G. J.) Vol. 9933, 993303 (SPIE, 2016).

  32. 32.

    Lhuillier, E., Keuleyan, S. & Guyot-Sionnest, P. Optical properties of HgTe colloidal quantum dots. Nanotechnology 23, 175705 (2012).

  33. 33.

    Liu, H., Keuleyan, S. & Guyot-Sionnest, P. n- and p-type HgTe quantum dot films. J. Phys. Chem. C 116, 1344–1349 (2012).

  34. 34.

    Anderson, R. L. Germanium-gallium arsenide heterojunctions. IBM J. Res. Dev. 4, 283–287 (1960).

  35. 35.

    Hirahara, T. et al. Anomalous transport in an n-type topological insulator ultrathin Bi2Se3 film. Phys. Rev. B 82, 155309 (2010).

  36. 36.

    Fan, X. A. et al. Bi2Te3 hexagonal nanoplates and thermoelectric properties of n-type Bi2Te3 nanocomposites. J. Phys. D 40, 5975–5979 (2007).

  37. 37.

    Scheele, M. et al. Synthesis and thermoelectric characterization of Bi2Te3 nanoparticles. Adv. Funct. Mater. 19, 3476–3483 (2009).

  38. 38.

    Moreno-García, H., Nair, M. T. S. & Nair, P. K. Chemically deposited lead sulfide and bismuth sulfide thin films and Bi2S3/PbS solar cells. Thin Solid Films 519, 2287–2295 (2011).

  39. 39.

    Rath, A. K., Bernechea, M., Martinez, L. & Konstantatos, G. Solution-processed heterojunction solar cells based on p-type PbS quantum dots and n-type Bi2S3 nanocrystals. Adv. Mater. 23, 3712–3717 (2011).

  40. 40.

    Guyot-Sionnest, P. Electrical transport in colloidal quantum dot films. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 3, 1169–1175 (2012).

  41. 41.

    Tang, X., Tang, X. & Lai, K. W. C. Scalable fabrication of infrared detectors with multispectral photoresponse based on patterned colloidal quantum dot films. ACS Photon. 3, 2396–2404 (2016).

  42. 42.

    Rogalski, A. HgCdTe infrared detector material: history, status and outlook. Rep. Progr. Phys. 68, 2267–2336 (2005).

Download references


This work was supported by ARO W911NF-18-1-0207 and partially supported by the University of Chicago Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, which is funded by the National Science Foundation under award no. DMR1420709. This work also made use of the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, which receives support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205), a node of the National Science Foundation’s National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure.

Author information


  1. James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

    • Xin Tang
    • , Matthew M. Ackerman
    • , Menglu Chen
    •  & Philippe Guyot-Sionnest


  1. Search for Xin Tang in:

  2. Search for Matthew M. Ackerman in:

  3. Search for Menglu Chen in:

  4. Search for Philippe Guyot-Sionnest in:


X.T. and M.M.A. conceived and designed the experiments. X.T. fabricated the samples and performed data analysis. M.M.A. synthesized and characterized the colloidal materials. M.C. performed field-effect transistor measurements. All authors contributed to discussions of the manuscript.

Competing interests

P.G.-S. is named as an inventor in US patent application 15/062,418, filed 8 September 2016.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Philippe Guyot-Sionnest.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Device information, measurement details and other supplementary information.

About this article

Publication history




Issue Date