CEA-Leti Announces Prototype of Next-Generation, Low-Cost Photo-Acoustic Sensors For Gas Detection And Analysis


Ekaterina Shilova – Adobe Stock

Leti, a research study institute of CEA Tech, today revealed prototype advancement of extremely miniaturized, portable optical sensors for chemical detection of gas. The next-generation, centimeter-size photo-acoustic sensors are based upon mid-infrared photonic incorporated circuits (MIR Pictures). These silicon Pictures, developed by incorporating optical circuits onto millimeter-size silicon chips, make very robust mini systems, in which discrete parts are changed by on-chip equivalents. This makes them simpler to utilize and minimizes their expense drastically, anticipated a minimum of by an aspect of 10.

Established by the European Commission’s REDFINCH Task headed by CEA-Leti, the prototype picture acoustic sensors were made on a CMOS line in a miniaturized silicon photo-acoustic cell, which enables severe combination. 

In presentations, the sensors match the efficiency of large industrial gas-sensing systems frequently offered today. They are targeted at applications such as procedure gas analysis in refineries, gas leakage detection in petrochemical plants and pipelines, and protein analysis in liquids for the dairy market. A welcomed paper on the advancement, “Photo-acoustic cell on silicon for mid-infrared QCL-based spectroscopic analysis”, won Finest Paper Award at Photonics West 2019.

The sensors intends to take in less than 10W in constant operation. They can be run in a sluggish pulse-burst mode for facilities tracking and when leakages are found, the pulse frequency of the sensing unit instantly increases. This keeps typical power usage really low so the sensors can be battery-operated for more than a year or powered by an ambient energy harvester, e.g. a solar cell. 

“The big picture is that the miniaturization of photo-acoustic spectroscopy based on quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) is entering the stage of mass production,” stated Jean-Guillaume Coutard, an instrumentation engineer at Leti, who collaborate the task.

To establish these chemical sensors, the REDFINCH consortium got rid of the obstacle of executing their abilities in the crucial mid-infrared area, where lots of crucial chemical and biological types have strong absorption finger prints. 

“This allows both the detection and concentration measurement of a wide range of gases, liquids and biomolecules,” Coutard stated. “This is crucial for applications such as health monitoring and diagnosis, detection of biological compounds and monitoring of toxic gases.” 

“This project is a perfect fit for mirSense’s development roadmap. Our mission is to democratize QCL usage,” stated Mathieu Carras, CEO of mirSense, which took part in the task. “mirSense is ready to produce these state-of-the-art integrated QCL-based components and do a similar job on electronics and software to bring the value of this technology to the market.”

The consortium members and contributions consist of:

Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland) – PHOTO style & fabrication, hybrid integrationUniversité de Montpellier (France) – Laser development on Si, photodetector growthTechnische Universität Wien (Austria) – Liquid spectroscopy, assembly/test of sensors mirSense (France) – MIR sensing unit items, laser module integrationArgotech a.s. (Czech Republic) Assembly/packaging of PICsFraunhofer IPM (Germany) – Gas spectroscopy, instrument design/assemblyEndress+Hauser (Germany) Process gas analysis and knowledge, screening recognition.

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