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Diffractive optical elements for sensing applications


Research objectives and content
This proposal is to explore the performances of surface-relief gratings in novel diffractive devices, capable of generating synthetic infrared spectra which could be used as chemical sensors for correlation spectroscopy. Such elements have continuous-relief profiles and can be fabricated by a computer controlled laser direct writing system, capable of locally modulating the exposure dose released to a sensitive film. A single lithographic process will produce a surface-relief, ready to be transferred into the substrate by dry etching. Hence, classic alignment difficulties, existing in standard multi-level fabrication processes, will be skipped. The applicant's work is divided in two main tasks: a) Realization of an optimisation software program for designing the desired diffractive function, using scalar and rigorous diffraction theories,. b) Fabrication and testing of the diffractive element resulting from the previous design step
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
a) Realization of smart, diffractive sensors capable to detect the presence of gases even if they are harmful or difficult to handle. b) Know-how transfer toward local research students, through the applicant's supervision of a couple of degree thesis in this field.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Even if no direct industrial links exist at this stage, the host institution is already involved, in programs with Italian industries, for realizing surface-relief devices.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Università degli Studi di Palermo
Viale Delle Scienze
90128 Palermo