Ultraviolet (UV), Terahertz (THZ) and Infrared (IR) radiation detecting and sensing systems using graphene nanoribbons and methods to making the same. In an illustrative embodiment, the detector includes a substrate, single or multiple layers of graphene nanoribbons, and first and second conducting interconnects each in electrical communication with the graphene layers. Graphene layers are tuned to increase the temperature coefficient of resistance to increase sensitivity to IR radiation. Absorption over a wide wavelength range of 200 nm to 1 mm are possible based on the two alternative devices structures described within. These two device types are a microbolometer based graphene film where the TCR of the layer is enhanced with selected functionalization molecules. The second device structure consists of a graphene nanoribbon layers with a source and drain metal interconnect and a deposited metal of SiO2 gate which modulates the current flow across the phototransistor detector.