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MidInfraRed PHotonics devices fABrication for chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MIRPHAB (MidInfraRed PHotonics devices fABrication for chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

MIRPHAB is a pilot line serving the growing needs of European industry in the field of chemical sensing.
The main objectives of MIRPHAB are to:
• provide a reliable supply of mid-infrared (MIR) photonic components for companies including in particular SMEs already active in analytical MIR sensing
• reduce investment cost to access innovative MIR solutions for companies already active in the field of analytical sensors, but new to MIR photonics based sensing
• attract companies new to the field of analytical sensors, aiming to integrate µ-sensors into their products.
To fulfil those objectives, MIRPHAB is organized as a distributed pilot line formed by leading European industrial suppliers of MIR photonic components, complemented by first class European R&D institutes with processing facilities capable of carrying out pilot line production.
MIRPHAB provides:
• access to MIR photonic devices via mounted/packaged devices for laser-based analytical MIR sensors
• expert design for sensor components to be fabricated in the pilot line plus training services to its customers.
MIRPHAB provides access for fast prototyping of Mid-IR microsystems for chemical sensing. The target of the project is to increase the TRL levels of the proposed building blocks (Sources, PICs and detectors), to develop standardized interfacing between the subcomponents and propose them to the Pilot Line users. The key breakthrough is the capability to miniaturize components of the detection chain into system-on-chip/systems-package devices. The consortium has created a commercial entity representing MIRPHAB. The commercial unit, coordinated by CMP with the support of EPIC and CEA, promote Pilot Line services, coordinate the access of the users, manage the prototyping of new devices and offer access to the full supply chain. To make that happening we address five main topics:
i. The assessment of the technological building blocks
ii. The access to the MIRPHAB services
iii. The operability of the commercial unit
iv. The logistic of the pilot line for design, prototyping & test of devices for the PL users
v. The promotion of MIRPHAB services and the generation of qualified leads accessing the PL services
Assessment of the existing technology:
IR sources:
• DFB ICLs fully covering the 3.0 to 5.3 µm range are now commercially available from nanoplus
• EC-QCL/µEC-QCL tunable over 180 cm-1 and covering wavelength bands in the 4.5 to 9.5 µm range are available by FhF-IAF
• Alpes Laser demonstrated the operability of extend tunable DFB QCLs over wavelength bands close to 8.3 6.2 and 4.7 µm
• mirSense provides arrays of DFB-QCLs covering 50 cm-1 in the 4 to 12 µm range as well as single sources for the specific detection of many chemicals of interest
IR Detectors:
State-of-the-art Type II Super Lattice (T2SL) and InAsSb detectors were jointly developed using a standardized the design layout, the assembly and the packaging flow. The comparative measurements performances comparable with commercial MCT devices.
mirSense integrated the miniaturized PA sensor together with DFB-QCL Lasers showing sub-ppm detection capabilities for many molecules of interest.
The use of Mid-IR photonics integrated circuits fabricated on Si allow combining and routing different laser sources on a single output. Three complementary platforms covering the full range of wavelengths between 3 to 12 µm, namely Si/SOI, Si/SiGe and Ge/SiGe stacks are available within MIRPHAB with a range of couplers, combiners and wavelength selectors already fabricated and validated.
To implement the design flow in MIRPHAB, both a set of PDKs (Process design Kits) and an ADK (Assembly Design Kit) are required. The ADK allows to combine the components into a single package, visualize the result, and apply design rules based on e.g. temperatures of different steps and size constraints. PhoeniX expanded the software framework to enable the definition of ADKs and PDKs to directly make visualization and perform electrical, thermal and optical modeling of the devices combining different the components. This ADK toolkit is now available for the members of the PL and it is presented in the training session organized by PhoeniX.
Organization of the Pilot Line activity
Open access: The access to MIRPHAB is based on a dedicated website providing full support for accessing the pilot line service, the documentation and the templates for proposals writing including the description of the technologies made available, an electronic submission area and support documentation.The electronic access is supported by a day-by-day follow-up with potentials customers of the pilot line accompanying them from the identification of the key specifications requirements to the generation of an application for prototyping within the PL.
The logistic of the pilot line for design, prototyping & test: a Collaborative Platform to handle, record, and follow on line all the exchanges/relationship between each potential customer and the MIRPHAB Partners related to the prototyping. Each prototyping action has a product manager responsible for the fabrications of the devices: he works in tight connection with CMP to handle the full process from the generation of the offer to the delivery of the products
The operability of the commercial unit: the partners constituted a business team of people fully dedicated to the commercialization of the services provided. The team, headed by CMP, is coordinating the MIRPHAB offers and services, being the link between the Parties and the potential customers during the commercial and technical exchanges.
Dissemination actions have been focused on increasing awareness of MIRPHAB within the companies that could become users of the Pilot Line. These actions included: i) the attendance at target conferences, ii) MIRPHAB presentations at the key events, iii) workshops focused on MIR technology and iv) dedicated MIRPHAB workshops. The activity performed using the MIRPHAB social media focused on the announcement of the upcoming shows and the outcome of the past events. Furthermore, dedicated articles presenting the benefits of MIR sensors have been published in leading photonic journals and media. A big effort was done in organizing actions together with the other Pilot Lines in photonics to present them in fairs and publishing a joined newsletter.
MIRPHAB is the first initiative offering prototyping of miniaturized optical sensing systems on the specifications of the user based on the MIRPHAB building blocks. MIRPHAB address a market segment constantly expanding during the last years attracting industrial groups unfamiliar with these technologies. MIRPHAB aims to become a sustainable source of key components for new and highly competitive MIR sensors, facilitating their effective market introduction and thus significantly strengthening the position and competitiveness of the respective European industry sector. The goal is to provide “one face to the customer” free access to components suitable to cover the full chain of the detection for MIR analytical sensors.
The MIRPHAB initiative federate and coordinate leading European industrial suppliers of MIR photonic components, supported by European research institute. The consortium offers access to the full chain from design to fabrication, test and packaging providing open access to fast MIR device prototyping for industry, with a special focus on SMEs.
Miniaturized µEC-QCL combing broadly tunable quantum cascade laser chip and a MOEMS grating for wave