Researchers at EPFL, China, Spain and the Netherlands have built a micro-device that uses vibrating molecules to transform invisible mid-infrared light into visible light. The breakthrough ushers in a new class of compact sensors for thermal imaging and chemical or biological analysis.
Light is an electromagnetic wave: it consists of oscillating electric and magnetic fields propagating through space. Every wave is characterized by its frequency, which refers to the number of oscillations per second, measured in Hertz (Hz). Our eyes can detect frequencies between 400 and 750 trillion Hz (or terahertz, THz), which define the visible spectrum. Light sensors in cell phone cameras can detect frequencies down to 300 THz, while detectors used for internet connections through optical fibres are sensitive to around 200 THz.
Source: “Molecular device turns infrared into visible light”, EPFL News