Review Article


2021, 14(9): 2938–2964


Progress in light-to-frequency conversion circuits based on low dimensional semiconductors

Seung Gi Seo, Seung Yeob Kim, Jinheon Jeong, and Sung Hun Jin (✉)

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Department of Electronic Engineering, Incheon National University, Academy-ro 119, Yeongsu-gu, Incheon 22012, Republic of Korea

Keywords: photodetector, light-to-frequency conversion circuit, transition metal dichalcogenide, carbon nanotube
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  • Abstract
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As the scaling down of Si devices in the range less than few nm has been expedited up to a physical limit of Si, low dimensional materials have been regarded as one of next generation semiconductors. Among a variety of applications, studies on photodetectors have been actively investigated with their novel optical properties as well as astonishing electrical properties. However, most of research has focused on single device-type photodetector (i.e., photo-diode or photo-transistor). Contrary to common photodetector, light-to-frequency circuits (LFCs) are based on frequency reading with photosensitive ring oscillators, which has better noise immunity and reduced system complexity, thus, can be utilized to novel application even in internet of things (IoT) and bio & medical fields. In this review, low dimensional materials based circuit level photodetectors, which are core elements as the form of either inverters or ring oscillators for demonstration of LFCs, are introduced. Along with the introduction of low dimensional materials and their optical properties for optoelectronics, a fundamental concept for LFCs is specifically described. Thereafter, research progress on low dimensional material based photosensitive inverters is addressed according to the types of devices. Furthermore, as one of practical method for the improvement of photodetector performance, molecular doping technology is presented. Lastly, complete system of LFCs and its digitization for demonstration of production level, and potential application in the respective four aspects, (i) medical SpO2 detection, (ii) biological fluidic system, (iii) auto-lighting in agriculture, and (iv) optical feedback and sensing systems, are presented as systematic way to address the envisioned practical applications for the future displays including virtual reality and augmented reality, and others. As a remark, LFCs based on low dimensional semiconductors are expected to be one of core components in trillion’s sensor area.
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Progress in light-to-frequency conversion circuits based on low dimensional semiconductors. Nano Res. 2021, 14(9): 2938–2964

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