Resonant cavity infrared detectors for scalable gas sensing

Nathan P. Li, Lei Tao, James McSpiritt, Eric M. Jackson, Chadwick L. Canedy, Charles D. Merritt, Mijin Kim, Chul Soo Kim, William W. Bewley, Jill A. Nolde, Edward H. Aifer, Igor Vurgaftman, Jerry R. Meyer, Mark A. Zondlo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


For some applications, resonant cavity infrared detectors (RCIDs) offer advantages over traditional broadband photodetectors. The addition of a resonant cavity allows for higher external quantum efficiency (EQE), faster response time, and narrower spectral response for enhanced selectivity. Recently, the US Naval Research Laboratory demonstrated RCIDs with EQE of 34% and D of 7 × 109 at room temperature, centered at 4.0 µm (46 nm FWHM). Princeton University has demonstrated that these RCIDs can detect gas-phase nitrous oxide (N2O) at room temperature with only a broadband light source and no other optical components. The results imply that a simple RCID-LED pair manufactured on a semiconductor wafer would provide a viable gas sensor. The manufacturing process could be completely automated, resulting in mass-producible optical gas sensors. Progress has been made for developing RCIDs at other wavelengths. Based on the achieved detection limit of 4% N2O at 4.0 µm, with 3 cm path length, leak detection of percentage-level concentrations of gases is definitely viable. The potential for operating at a more optimal wavelength to attain high-precision measurements at part-per-million (ppm) levels is still under investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies XV
EditorsRichard A. Crocombe, Luisa T. M. Profeta
ISBN (Electronic)9781510661462
StatePublished - 2023
EventNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies XV 2023 - Orlando, United States
Duration: May 1 2023May 3 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies XV 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • NDIR
  • chemical sensing
  • interband cascade LED
  • low-cost sensor
  • on-chip
  • optical gas sensor
  • photonic integrated circuit
  • resonant cavity detector


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