Infrared photodetectors: theory, practice, and applications

Gary Spingarn, Product Manager, Hamamatsu Corporation
Slawomir Piatek, Ph.D., Hamamatsu Corporation & New Jersey Institute of Technology
September 30, 2020

A great deal of information about the physical world, from the cosmos to DNA, comes to us in the form of infrared radiation (IR). Human-made systems, such as automotive lidar, thermal-vision cameras, or communication networks, rely on IR for successful and optimal operation. A common denominator to nearly all uses of IR, from spectroscopy to imaging, is its detection. Modern technologies are opening new possibilities for detection, but choosing a suitable IR detector may be more difficult than before.

IR detectors are the main focus of this webinar — in particular, their structure, operation, and optoelectronic characteristics. The webinar will also discuss the process of selecting a suitable detector in the context of a given application.

Attendees will:

  • Learn about existing IR photodetectors, including their structure, operation, and limitations.
  • Learn how to compare the performance of IR photodetectors and understand that photodetector selection involves trade-offs.
  • Become familiar with several applications employing IR and understand why in these applications IR is superior to other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

About the presenters

Gary Spingarn is a product manager with Hamamatsu, where he focuses on detectors and light sources for the mid-infrared region. A Rutgers 2013 chemical engineering graduate, Spingarn made his start in industrial gases where he gained hands-on experience in all sorts of processes such as steel mills, plastics manufacturing, and alternative energy. Photonic devices were key in many of his past projects, and he began with the spectrometer group before moving into mid-infrared components. Leveraging past experience, Spingarn continues to support the development of gas analyzers, analytical instruments, medical devices, pyrometers, and new applications.

Slawomir S. Piatek, Ph.D., has been measuring proper motions of nearby galaxies using images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope as a senior university lecturer of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has developed a photonics training program for engineers at Hamamatsu Corp. in New Jersey in the role of science consultant. Also at Hamamatsu, he is involved in popularizing a SiPM (silicon photomultiplier) as a novel photodetector by writing and lecturing about it, and by experimenting with the device. He earned a Ph.D. in physics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 1994.

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