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High-performance, low-cost mid-infrared detectors for industry

​EU Horizon 2020 project REDFINCH is tackling the next generation of miniaturized portable optical sensors to detect gases and proteins in liquid. The sensors under development will initially target the petrochemical and dairy industries.

Published on 12 November 2018

​New mid-infrared detectors built on photonic integrated circuits (PIC) will be developed by a consortium of partners coordinated by Leti, a CEA Tech institute, in research conducted under the EU H2020 REDFINCH project. The goal is to miniaturize these systems and reduce costs without compromising performance.

Today's sensors are made from components measuring in the centimeters. These components will be replaced by millimeter-sized optical circuits on silicon chips, enabling miniature systems that are extremely robust and easy to use at around a tenth the cost of current systems. Leti will provide in-depth know-how of PIC design and fabrication on a 200 mm pilot line and photoacoustic cells integrated on silicon. The future system's light source will be quantum cascade lasers employed for detection in the mid-infrared range modified to make them compatible with fabrication on current CMOS lines.

Mid-infrared (wavelengths between 2 μm and 20 μm) optical sensors can be used to detect and measure a wide range of gases, as well as certain other molecules in liquids. The sensors will initially detect gas leaks in petrochemical plants and on pipelines and analyze proteins in liquids for the dairy industry.

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