IR spectroscopy is a powerful tool for multi-gas analysis. While conventional sensors are based on the use of filters, spectrometers or tuneable lasers, the MIREGAS project has introduced breakthrough components that can be integrated for multi-gas analysis. New technology developed during the project allows a more precise discrimination between light wavelengths, which allows a gas sensor to exclude interfering gas components.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd coordinated the programme and provided Si PICs as well as photonics packaging and integration technologies. The Optoelectronics Research Centre at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland was responsible for developing innovative superluminescent LEDs, ITME (PL) for mouldable Mid-IR lenses and VIGO (PL) for Mid-IR detectors. Industrial partners Vaisala (FI), AirOptic (PL) and GasSecure (NO) brought their competences in the areas of gas sensing and Mid-IR sensor fabrication, and at the same time, validated the technologies developed by the consortium.
In particular, the main advances concerned the development of novel superluminescent LEDs for 2.65µm wavelength, Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) with 1nm bandwidth for spectral filtering at Mid-IR, hot-embossed Mid-IR lenses for beam forming and photodetectors for 2 to 3µm wavelengths.
Silicon photonics PIC technology that was originally developed for optical communication applications allows for the miniaturization of the sensor. The components entail important benefits in terms of cost, volume production and reliability.