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Photonics & Sensors

In today's society, all data is interconnected and is used in our daily lives. As we have witnessed over the past three decades, the data explosion has evolved from 1G to today's 5G. As we move forward to 5+G and 6G, we will be expected to see even greater data demands. This will require our technology to move to the next generation in order to meet the demands of such ubiquitous data connections.

IME's Photonics & Sensors team is focused on addressing these issues and is working on the development of next-generation photonics technologies, such as optical gas sensors and chemical sensors, as well as 12-inch flat optics that look into these issues.  

Our Solutions

Gas and Chemical Sensing Platform

scandium-doped aluminum nitride (ScAIN)-based pyroelectric detector

IME has developed CO2 gas sensor based on ScAlN-based pyroelectric detector which can sense down to 25ppm CO2 with ~2 seconds response time. Efforts have also been made to reduce the size of this CO2 gas sensor from length 10cm, diameter 5mm down to length 4cm, diameter 1mm. These CMOS compatible CO2 gas sensors could be integrable with CMOS electronics for environmental air quality monitoring.
Published in ACS Sensors 7 (8), 2345-2357 (2022).
Using ScAlN-based pyroelectric detector, IME also developed a low-power contactless button sensing system in order to reduce disease transmission through touch. Our system requires ~3.5× lower power consumption compared to commercial contactless button.

Presented at SPIE Photonics West 2023, Paper 12434-4. 

Integrated MEMS emitter and detector

IME has demonstrated an on-chip CO2 gas sensor. This is constructed by integrating MEMS-based thermal emitter, ScAlN-based pyroelectric detector and a sensing channel. This integrated sensor has a small footprint of 13 mm x 13 mm. The integration of MEMS emitter, thermal pathway substrate, and pyroelectric detector, realized through CMOS compatible process, shows the potential for mass-deployment of gas sensors in environmental sensing networks.

Presented at SPIE Photonics West 2023, Paper 12426-29 

Ge waveguide platform for mid-infrared sensing

On-chip mid-infrared (MIR) spectrometer requires waveguide designs allowing small bending radius and meaningful interaction between the mode field and analyte. Germanium-on-Silicon (GOS) material system fits this requirement, yet their low index contrasts limit the bending radius to a few hundred micrometres range. IME has developed a unique high aspect ratio GOS waveguide with 3µm height and a gap spacing as small as 300nm. The minimum bend radius is decreased to 20µm. Various build blocks including in-plane distributed Bragg grating (DBR) structures, cascaded Fabry-Perot resonators, polarization splitters, and grating couplers are demonstrated


Ge waveguide platform for mid-infrared sensing

Advanced Photonics Integration

Aluminum nitride (AIN) Photonics Integration Platform

Aluminum Nitride (AlN), as a CMOS-compatible material, has a wide transparency window covering from ultraviolet to mid-infrared. It also shows a significant second-order nonlinear optical effect, and exhibits piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects, which enable it to be utilized for optomechanical devices and pyroelectric photodetectors, respectively. 
IME has devoted great efforts to develop AlN integration platform over 8-inch wafers for various photonics applications, including linear and non-linear photonics, opto-mechanics, and quantum photonics, etc. IME has over the past years demonstrated various AlN based passive and active devices. Waveguide loss as low as 0.4 dB/cm at 1550 nm and 0.7 dB/cm at 1310 nm are demonstrated. Proof-of-concept demonstration of various modulators using Pockels effects are shown.