New Material Discovered Which Can Convert Infrared Light to Renewable Energy (July)

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Researchers at Bengaluru՚s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have discovered a new material called single-crystalline scandium nitride (ScN) that can convert infrared light into renewable energy.

  • To accomplish this feat, scientists used a scientific phenomenon known as polariton excitations, which occur in tailored materials when light couples with either collective free electron oscillations or polar lattice vibrations.
  • Infrared light is beyond the light range that is visible to the human eye, and falls between the visible light and microwave regions (the wavelength is longer than visible light) .
    • Infrared sources, emitters, and sensors are in high demand across a wide range of industries, including electronics, healthcare, defence and security, and energy, further infrared polaritons in scandium nitride will enable its use in a variety of such devices.
Infrared Sources, Emitters, and Sensors

Key Highlights of Single-Crystalline Scandium Nitride (ScN)


  • It has high efficiency in emitting, detecting, and modulating infrared light, making it useful for solar and thermal energy harvesting, as well as optical communication devices.
  • Scientists have carefully controlled material properties to excite polaritons (a quasi-particle) and achieve strong light-matter interactions in single-crystalline scandium nitride (ScN) using infrared light.


  • As these polaritons in ScN are also compatible with modern complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) or Si-chip technology and, as such, could be easily integrated into on-chip optical communication devices.
  • These exotic polaritons in the ScN can be utilized for solar and thermal energy harvesting.

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