Leti, a research institute of CEA Tech, has announced the launch of the REDFINCH consortium to develop the next generation of miniaturized, portable optical sensors for chemical detection in both gases and liquids. Initial target applications are in the petrochemical and dairy industries.
The consortium of eight European research institutes and companies will focus on developing novel, high-performance, cost-effective chemical sensors, based on mid-infrared photonic integrated circuits (MIR PICs). Silicon PICs - optical circuits on millimeter-size silicon chips - are integrated to create extremely robust miniature systems, in which discrete components are replaced by on-chip equivalents. This makes them easier to use and reduces their cost dramatically, at least by a factor of 10.
Initially, REDFINCH will focus on three specific applications:
- Process gas analysis in refineries
- Gas leak detection in petrochemical plants and pipelines
- Protein analysis in liquids for the dairy industry.
Silicon photonics leverages the advantages of high-performance CMOS technology, providing low-cost mass manufacturing, high-fidelity reproduction of designs and access to high-refractive index contrasts that enable high-performance nanophotonics.
- Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland) – PIC design & fabrication, hybrid integration
- Université de Montpellier (France) – Laser growth on Si, photodetector growth
- Technische Universität Wien (Austria) – Liquid spectroscopy, assembly/test of sensors
- mirSense (France) – MIR sensor products, laser module integration
- Argotech a.s. (Czech Republic) Assembly/packaging of PICs
- Fraunhofer IPM (Germany) – Gas spectroscopy, instrument design/assembly
- Endress+Hauser (Germany) Process gas analysis and expertise, testing validation