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Organic Near-Infrared Sensor Platform Technologies and Applications


Polymeric and organic semiconducting materials have been used for fabricating different optoelectronic devices including organic light-emitting diodes, organic photodetectors, and organic solar cells. In addition to the advantages of being lightweight, cost effective and compatible with flexible substrates, many of these organic and polymeric semiconducting materials possess high light absorption over the near-infrared (NIR) wavelength range, enable the use of thin films to achieve both efficient absorption of the incident NIR light and fast response. The electronic and optoelectronic properties of these materials can be tailored through chemical structure modifications, to suit an application or a spectral range.

To stay ahead of the completion, the organic NIR sensor technology based on an integration of solution-processable functional organic semiconducting materials would provide significant cost benefits as well as the functional superiority for a broad range of applications. NIR sensor technologies can be used for a plethora of applications in imaging, smart agriculture, wellness monitoring, automotive, artificial intelligence, Li-Fi, and light communications. For example, NIR sensor is able to determine the acidity, sugar, and water content in the fruits. The related NIR sensor technologies can be used for applications in non-invasive detection of acidity, sugar and water content in fruits and transfers the data to mobile devices or laptops via bluetooth.

We will study the functions of the different organic NIR senor devices, relating to the choice of materials, materials process, device physics and device engineering. The electronic and optoelectronic properties of the photoactive materials used in the NIR sensors will be selected to suit a particular application or spectral range. The NIR sensor technology offers an attractive option for a plethora of applications in fast and portable environmental pollution monitoring and detection. The main goals of the project include:


  1. To analyse the optical field distributions in the organic NIR sensors, optimize the performance of the organic NIR sensors, including materials formulation and device fabrication.
  2. To study the different NIR sensor devices using both theoretical simulation and experimental optimization.
  3. To investigate the NIR-to-visible up-conversion devices through vertical integration of the visible light LED and the organic NIR sensor.
  4. To develop the new type dual-mode organic photodetectors that can be operated for attaining high photosensitivity in NIR, and visible light wavelength ranges.
  5. To demonstrate NIR sensor technology for application in smart agriculture and fast detecting of NIR-absorbing materials embedded in non-NIR absorbing medium.

Required skills

The candidates who have interest in organic electronics including materials engineering, photo-physics, device modelling, device integration and applications.

Principal Investigator


Prof. Fu Rong Zhu

Prof. Fu Rong Zhu

Professor, Department of Physics




Prof. Zongwei Cai

Prof. Zongwei Cai

Founding Kwok Yat Wai Endowed Chair of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Chair Professor,  Department of Chemistry