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Photonics & Sensors

The Photonics & Sensor team in IME focuses on developing novel transducers at the heart of many electronic systems today, bridging the electronic and the real world. Semiconductor microfabrication techniques are leveraged for engineering high performance, microscale devices that can be batch fabricated at low-cost. Some of the key themes in the group are: acoustic sensors, piezoelectrics, as well as gas and chemical sensors.

Our Solutions

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 25 ppm CO2 with ~2 seconds response time. Efforts have also been made to reduce the size of this CO2 gas sensor from length 10 cm, diameter 5 mm down to length 4 cm, diameter 1 mm. 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).
IME has also developed low power contactless button sensing system using ScAlN-based pyroelectric detector to help reduce disease transmission through touch. Our system requires ~3.5x 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 (L x W). 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 

MEMS emitter

A MEMS-based thermal emitter with piezoelectric actuation is demonstrated. The capture emission spectrum shows broadband MIR emission peaked at ~10 µm wavelength. Piezoelectric actuation enables displacement of >20 µm for the thermal emitter. This device with active tuning paves the way towards a self-adaptable directional emitter for various applications including chemical/ gas sensing.