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Dual-comb laser driven terahertz spectrometer for industrial sensing

Objective

Optical absorption spectroscopy is a key enabling technology for contact-free and non-destructive identification of materials. Since these measurements allow for identifying defects or contaminants in products, they are used in many industries. Examples include testing of polymers, coatings and paints, pharmaceuticals, foods, and semiconductor devices for electronics. Optical spectroscopy also has emerging applications in environmental monitoring, security, and medical diagnostics. Light in the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum (frequencies from 0.1 – 10 THz) is particularly attractive for all these applications because of its remarkable properties: it can be transmitted through many materials, allowing for inspection of products inside their packaging; its interaction with matter leaves unique spectral fingerprints, enabling identification of the molecules present; and it offers good resolution, enabling imaging applications. However, a significant challenge for existing industrial terahertz spectroscopy systems is the high cost and complexity of the driving laser. In this ERC-PoC project, we will resolve these problems by leveraging our recently-demonstrated breakthrough dual-comb laser technology. These patented dual-comb lasers produce asynchronous high-power femtosecond pulses from a single laser cavity. This solution combines higher performance and lower complexity compared to the alternative technologies. The goal of the ERC-PoC is to deploy these advantages in the context of terahertz spectroscopy to enable faster measurements and lower costs, and take important steps to commercialization. We will develop a prototype industrial terahertz spectrometer, measure test samples with research and industrial collaborators, and find initial product-market fit for commercializing the spectrometer.

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-PoC
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-POC-LS - ERC Proof of Concept Lump Sum Pilot

Host institution

EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH
Address
Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich
Switzerland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 150 000

Beneficiaries (1)

EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 150 000
Address
Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments