Self-driving broadband responsive light sensor with bionic visual adaptation

Recently, the team of Academician Liu Yichun and Professor Xu Haiyang of the Key Laboratory of Ultraviolet Emission Materials and Technology of the Ministry of Education, School of Physics, Northeast Normal University, proposed a double-ended optical sensor with bionic visual adaptation, which can operate in self-driving mode and simulate several humanoid visual adaptation functions, including: wide-band photosensitive image adaptation (from ultraviolet to near-infrared), near-complete photosensitive recovery (99.6%), and collaborative visual adaptation process.

The study was published online in Light: Science & Applications under the title “Self-powered and Broadband Opto-sensor with Bionic Visual Adaptation Function Based on Multilayer γ-InSe Flakes.” Professor Liu Weizhen is the first author of the paper, and Associate Professor Li Yuanzheng and Professor Xu Haiyang are the corresponding authors of the paper.

Visual perception is an important perceptual function in humans and other vertebrates, contributing more than 80% of the perceptual information in the surrounding environment and transmitting it to the brain. With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, artificial vision systems need to have the ability to imitate the visual perception of the human eye, and one of the important functions is visual adaptation, that is, the response to light intensity can be automatically adjusted according to different lighting environments.

Figure 1: The light intensity of the human eye depends on adaptive behavior

At this stage, artificial vision systems with bionic visual adaptation often require complex hardware and algorithms, which seriously limits the operational efficiency of the system. In order to improve efficiency and reduce system complexity, the research of artificial vision devices based on single device structure and integrated bionic visual adaptation function has been carried out successively, and there is great application potential in visual adaptation function. However, the working mechanism of these artificial vision devices/systems is mainly limited to the regulation of carrier capture or ion migration, which is far from meeting the development needs of visual adaptive devices in artificial vision systems in the future. Therefore, it is important to explore more working mechanisms to achieve artificial vision devices that are more efficient, simpler in structure and integrate adaptive functions.

In this study, the research team developed a two-ended visual adaptive light sensor based on two-dimensional γ-InSe, which can well simulate the behavior of visual adaptation of the human eye. Using the new working mechanism of photopyroelectric effect and photo-thermoelectric effect, the response current of the device can produce dynamic adaptive behavior under continuous constant photostimulation. In addition, thanks to the photovoltaic effect and the relatively small band gap of γ-InSe, the device can operate in self-powered mode and is capable of light intensity-dependent adaptive behavior over a wide band from ultraviolet (300 nm) to near-infrared (1000 nm).

Figure 2: Light intensity dependent adaptive behavior and self-driving broadband response of a light sensor

More importantly, the two-dimensional γ-InSe-based visual adaptive light sensor successfully realized several important humanoid visual adaptation function simulations, including: wide-band photosensitive image adaptation (from ultraviolet to near-infrared), near-complete photosensitivity recovery (99.6%), and visual adaptation process synergistic with the eyelid. This research can not only enrich the working mechanism of human visual adaptation function simulation, but also promote the further development of advanced light sensors and artificial vision systems. (Source: China Optics WeChat public account)

Figure 3: Broadband light-sensing image adaptation and photosensitive recoverability simulation of a light sensor

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