Leti prototypes miniature mid-IR chemical sensor

February 06, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Leti prototypes miniature mid-IR chemical sensor
French research institute Leti (Grenoble, France) has prototyped a coin- sized optical chemical sensor using mid-infrared silicon photonics that it claims is suitable for inclusion in smartphones and other portable devices.

Mid infrared chemical sensors operate in the spectral wavelength range of 2.5 to 12-micron and can identify chemicals by spectroscopy.

Let's device integrates a mid-IR laser on silicon, photonic ICs on silicon operating in the mid-IR wavelength range, and a photoacoustic detector. It was presented at SPIE Photonics West 2019 in a paper titled Miniaturization of Mid-IR Sensors on Si: Challenges and Perspectives .

"Mid-IR silicon photonics has enabled creation of a novel class of integrated components, allowing the integration at chip level of the main building blocks required for chemical sensing," said Sergio Nicoletti, lead author of the paper. "Key steps in this development extend the wavelength range available from a single source, handling and routing of the beams using photonic-integrated circuits, and the investigation of novel detection schemes that allow fully integrated on-chip sensing."

One of the project's features was the use of tools and processes typical of the IC and MEMS industries, thereby allowing for easier development, Nicoletti said.

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