Bellotti Wins Ignition Award For an Effective New Approach to Photon Detection

in NEWS

The work promises to modernize a range of industries & common commercial products

By Gabriella McNevin

Adam Wichman (left), Professor Enrico Bellotti (middle), and Ben Pinkie (right)
Adam Wichman (left), Professor Enrico Bellotti (middle), and Ben Pinkie (right)

Professor Enrico Bellotti (ECE) and his PhD students Adam Wichman and Ben Pinkie won the Ignition Award for research in High sensitivity optical detectors in light starved applications.” The Boston University Office of Technology Development sponsors the Ignition Award to help launch promising new technologies into the marketplace.

Recipients of the Ignition Award are entered into a program, which supports further research and enables investigators to develop technology that will be well received in the consumer marketplace. “Ignition Awards help bring new technologies to a mature enough state” states the Boston University Technology Develop office, “where they can be licensed, spun off as a new venture, or create a new, non-profit social enterprise.”

The Ignition Award will help develop Bellotti’s infrared detector prototype. The technology is based on a novel architecture, originally invented by Adam Wichman, that overcomes the deficiencies of existing technologies. Dr. Bellotti has been interested in infrared detectors for several years, dating back to his investigations into the physics of avalanche photon detectors, for which he won an NSF Early Career Award in 2005.

Benjamin Pinkie and Adam Wichman joined Bellotti in 2012, and have been the driving forces in executing a fresh approach to image detection.

The team’s invention will lead to more sensitive infrared detectors that can operate using less power and at higher temperatures. As a result, they will not require the same cooling devices that are needed for the current generation of infrared cameras. This feature may enable novel applications especially for portable devices where weight and power consumption are at a premium.