Spectral conversion of mid-infrared (MIR) radiation to visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths is a fundamental technology for spectroscopy and imaging; however, current MIR-to-VIS/NIR conversion technology is limited to nonlinear optics with bulky crystals or resonant nanocavities. Here we report lanthanide-based MIR-to-NIR nanotransducers that enable broadband MIR sensing at room temperature by harnessing ratiometric luminescence changes. The ratiometric luminescence of lanthanide nanotransducers in the NIR region can be incoherently modulated by MIR radiation in the 4.5–10.8 µm wavelength range. Ratiometric modulation of luminescence enables a detection limit of ~0.3 nW × µm−2 with an internal quantum efficiency on the order of 3 × 10−3. The ratiometric sensor based on lanthanide nanotransducers does not require cryogenic cooling, polarization control, phase matching or nanoantenna design for light confinement. We also developed a camera with lanthanide nanotransducers, which enable room-temperature MIR imaging. We anticipate that these lanthanide nanotransducers can be extended to MIR light manipulation at the microscale for chip-integrated device applications.
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This work was supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education (grant nos. MOE2017-T2-2-110 and MOE2016-T3-1-006(S)), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) (grant nos. A1983c0038 and A2090b0144), and National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore (award nos. NRF-NRFI05-2019-003, NRF-CRP18-2017-02, NRF-CRP22-2019-0002 and NRF-CRP19-2017-01).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Liang, L., Wang, C., Chen, J. et al. Incoherent broadband mid-infrared detection with lanthanide nanotransducers. Nat. Photon. 16, 712–717 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-022-01042-7