CEA-Leti Prototypes Next-Generation Silicon Photonics-Based Mid-IR Optical Chemical Sensor

CEA-Leti has prototyped a next-generation optical chemical sensor based on mid-infrared silicon photonics, which is highly compatible with a wide range of portable devices. Mid-IR chemical sensors function within 2.5µm to 12µm spectral range, and have been referred to as the archetype of the ground-breaking silicon-photonic tools or devices.

In less than ten years, chemical sensing has turned into an important application for these devices, owing to the accelerating potential of materials processing, spectroscopy, and chemical & biomolecular sensing, as well as industrial and security applications. Measurement done in this spectral range offers highly sensitive, selective, and clear identification of chemicals.

In a revolutionary move, Leti has prototyped the coin-size, on-chip, IoT-ready sensors that brings together low power intake and high performance consumption and enable diverse consumer uses as wearable health & well-being applications, and air-quality monitoring in vehicles and homes. In industries it can be used in real-time air-quality checking and an array of worker-safety applications.

The existing Mid-IR optical sensors on the market are huge in size and cost over €10,000. However, the prevailing miniaturized and affordable sensors can’t meet sensitivity, accuracy, and selectivity related consumer requirements. The price and size are neither the pain points nor the most critical concerns for industrial applications, but expensive and heavy optical sensors represent a huge obstacle for consumer applications, needing wearability & integration with different portable devices or tools.

Portable tools or devices continue to witness widespread adoption in wide range of industries, and with industries gravitating towards technology-driven solution, manufacturers of portable tools continue to induce novel technology in manufacturing process. Fact.MR study has opined that the portable tools market is on ascendancy with market players witnessing novel opportunities. As per the report the growing demand of portable tools is accredited to factors, such as affordability and production innovation.

CEA-Leti showcased its R&D findings on February 5 at SPIE Photonics West 2019. Sergio Nicoletti, the lead author of the paper, said that Mid-IR silicon photonics allows them to create an innovative class of highly integrated components, which further enables them to integrate at chip level of the key building used for chemical sensing.

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