CORDIS - EU research results

Insect-Brain inspired Neuromorphic Nanophotonics

Project description

Biomimetic chip for integrated sensing and neural computation

The EU-funded InsectNeuroNano project aims to develop innovative on-the-chip nanophotonic devices for integrated sensing and computation, inspired by the insect neural system. The technology will combine advanced knowledge of insect neurobiology for circuit designs and autonomous navigation with nanowire semiconductivity to exploit light for interconnection. It will exploit stable molecular dyes as novel memory components and use circuit technology for quantum computing. As proof of concept, InsectNeuroNano will recreate a pathway from insect-polarised light sensing to the memory circuits that integrate information to provide a continuous location estimate. The final goal is to create a chip that allows autonomous vehicle navigation without GPS. The developed neural components will then be used as building blocks in a wide spectrum of circuits.


We propose nanophotonic on-chip devices for integrated sensing and neural computation, inspired by the insect brain. This will uniquely combine four lines of research: 1) progress in understanding insect neurobiology that provides proven circuit designs to solve significant problems such as autonomous navigation; 2) advanced III-V semiconductor nanowire technology that exploits light to obtain a large number of interconnects with extremely low power consumption; 3) optically efficient stable molecular dyes that can be used for novel memory components; 4) circuit technology developed for quantum computing. As proof of concept, we target the complete pathway from polarised light sensing in the insect eye to the internal compass and memory circuits by which this information is integrated in a continuous accurate estimate of location. Building on verified models, we will first demonstrate that the computational principles can be implemented using overlapping light signals in a nanoscale system, with high error tolerance and orders of magnitude better energy and spatial footprint than present technologies. We will then explore neuromorphic memory functionalities from nanoelectronics and molecular dyes, in parallel with deeper investigation of the memory substrates in the insect brain. The same nanostructures used for computing can be used for optical sensing, and we will develop an integrated sensor and information processing array to extract global orientation information from polarised skylight. The direct outcome will be an energy efficient, robust chip enabling autonomous vehicle navigation without GPS, with many potential applications; but more importantly, the novel neural components we will develop can then be re-assembled into a wide spectrum of circuits to mimic other computations in the insect brain. The technology platform can be integrated with silicon technology and we will demonstrate the pathway to upscaling and commercialization.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 496 577,00
Paradisgatan 5c
22100 Lund

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Södra Sverige Sydsverige Skåne län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 496 577,00

Participants (3)

Partners (1)