Saturday, 5 April 2014

Improvements to graphene detectors

Last June, I noted research in Singapore which promised a wide-ranging imaging sensor based on graphene. The hyperspectral detection of graphene ranges from ultraviolet to far infrared but there has been a problem with very low sensitivity of the single layer of carbon atoms.

A paper in Nature Nanotechnology, published on March 16 2014, outlines a method devised by researchers at the University of Michigan whereby electrons freed by photons hitting a first layer of graphene tunnel through an insulating barrier layer and into a second graphene layer. This affects current flowing through the second graphene layer and this is what is detected. The result is a dramatic increase in sensitivity as well as IR detectors that perform well at room temperatures. This is all explained in a press release from the University of Michigan. The 'trick' was to look into how the signal could be amplified, rather than making the signal stronger. (I haven't read the whole paper but I would ask what noise does this generate.)

"We can make the entire design super-thin," said Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan, and one of the inventors. "It can be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone." This mention of contact lenses led the Register to ask "Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS".

A patent, 'Photodetector based on double layer heterostructures', has been applied for.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Richard Mosse 'The Enclave' exhibition in New York

Following on from his exhibition at the Venice Biennalle, Richard Mosse's colour infrared installation, The Enclave, is on show in New York until March 22nd. The venue is the Jack Shainman Gallery at 513 West 20th Street.

Mosse worked with cinematographer Trevor Tweeten using 16mm aerochrome (basically Color Infrared Ektachrome) to explore the war-torn eastern Congo. The resulting film was transferred to HD video. Here's how the exhibition press release describes the work:
The Enclave comprises six monumental double-sided screens installed in a large darkened chamber creating a physically immersive experience. This disorienting and kaleidoscopic installation is intended to formally parallel eastern Congo’s multifaceted conflict, confounding expectations and forcing the viewer to interact spatially from an array of differing viewpoints. The Enclave is an experiential environment that attempts to reconfigure the dictates of photojournalism and expanded video art.
The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 1000 to 1800.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Joseph Giacomin thermal art website

Professor Joseph Giacomin and his artistic thermal images have featured before on this blog.

Thermal art is basically as rare as hen's teeth, mainly because thermal cameras are very expensive beasts (although that may be about to change).

Rush Hour by Joseph Giacomin
He has now launched a web site dedicated to his thermograms (or is it thermographs?): Perception Enhancement Studios with a fascinating collection of images captured using a 320 by 240 pixel camera. This is standard res for thermal devices, anything higher counts as HD. One useful feature is that you can choose to view the set of images from three tonal scales. Two are false colour, red-blue and iron, and the third is grey-scale. Personally, I prefer the grey-scale. The false colour scales are designed to exaggerate differences in temperatures, which I feel can often be a bit over the top for art. That said, false colour shouldn't be ignored and I suggest you go to the web site and make your own mind up.

Deianira by Joseph Giacomin
I have come across other artistic thermal images, but I find Joseph usually has the edge when it comes to artistic flair (or should that be artistic Flir ... in-joke).

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

RPS Journal Archive online

It's a momentous event for photographic historians. The Royal Photographic Society, who have just launched their revamped web site, have also put a fully searchable archive of the famous Phot J ... the Photographic Journal, now the RPS Journal, on line with free access and free text search. It's at

You can find out the background to the project on the Townsweb Archiving blog.

I haven't really explored yet but the page scans look very good. My only comments are that you only see your results by Journal volume whereas a date would be nice, and to return to the search results you have to use the browser 'back' button: but that's being picky. It is a fantastic resource. Enter 'infra-red' and then 'infrared' as your search term and see how it all started.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Elliott Landy's Band photobook includes infrared shots

You may recall photographer Elliott Landy and the iconic colour infrared photograph of his, showing Bob Dylan, that was included in the Infrared 100 exhibition.

Elliott has a distinguished portfolio of music-related material and has recently decided to pull together the best shots he took of The Band to produce a fine art photo book that he is funding via KickStarter. Actually I should say 'has funded' as he finally raised $193,626.

I was a much younger person when I shelled out pocket money for a copy of Rag Mama Rag by the Band. They were Canadians who famously accompanied Dylan on the Basement Tapes and then became a key recording act in their own right. Their roots approach to music was matched by their image, and this was captured by Landy on over eight thousand frames of film. Only about 30 ever got widely published, some as album covers and posters, and he considers this his best body of work. His relationship with the band is rare for a photographer. The only other notable long-term collaboration I can recall is U2 and Anton Corbijn.

The music occupied a hinterland between rock, country and folk; bringing an acoustic sound that became synonymous with Woodstock in up-state New York. For such a small place it has managed to carve a deep furrow in American musical history, and Vanity Fair calls Landy "the ultimate keeper of the Woodstock flame".

This photo of Levon Helm is one of the infrared shots (Kodak E4 stock in this case) which are included in the set. As with the Dylan shot, Landy didn't use infrared to exploit its characteristics (something I'm often guilty of) but more for what it could bring to the image.

This is the KickStarter page ... now reached its target ... and this is Elliott Landy's own web site, which you can explore for more of his images.

[Amended 30 Jan 2014 to give final Kickstarter figure.]