Organic Photodetector Inspired By Mantis Shrimp Eyes

The eyes of mantis shrimp inspired the development of a new type of organic photodetector small enough to fit on a smartphone but capable of hyperspectral and polarimetric imaging.

The eyes of mantis shrimp, exceptionally good at capturing subtle gradations of color, inspired the designers of the new organic photodetector. As a result, the researchers developed an organic electronic sensor resembling a mantis shrimp’s eye. The sensor is known as the Stomatopod Inspired Multispectral and POLarization sensitive (SIMPOL). And, yes, mantis shrimp is known as stomatopod.

The researchers created a SIMPOL sensor prototype that can register four spectral and three polarization channels simultaneously. In comparison, smartphone charge-coupled devices have only three spectral imaging sensors that detect red, green, and blue light and two polarization channels. Furthermore, the SIMPOL prototype can measure four color and three polarization channels simultaneously, whereas CCDs rely on imaging sensors distributed across multiple points.

While only a proof of concept, the researchers determined that the design could be used to create detectors capable of sensing up to 15 spatially registered spectral channels using modeling simulations. SIMPOL’s color channels can distinguish spectral features ten times narrower than typical imaging sensors, making it ten times more precise. The work demonstrates that small, efficient sensors capable of capturing hyperspectral and polarimetric images can be developed.

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