Stefano Tondini

Project title: PHUSION (InP photonic integrated circuit for multi-species gas spectroscopy featuring self-calibration)

Host Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Host Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Martijn Heck

Co-host Institution: Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Co-host Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jia Chen

Summary project: Livestock farming plays a significant role in the emission of gasses like methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia, which affects human health, the environment and the climate. Policy making on the emission of such gases is only possible if reliable and accurate information is available. State of the art gas analysers, capable of part-per-billion environmental gas sensing, are often based on a solid-state laser, using discrete optics, and are too expensive for inline and ubiquitous monitoring. Miniaturization, while keeping performance in terms of noise and stability high enough for highly sensitive gas detection, is necessary.

The PHUSION project is taking a firm step in this direction, by bringing unprecedented gas sensing performances on a single photonic integrated circuit produced in a mature InP technology. This is achieved through the combination of a novel continuously-tunable InP laser design with an advanced absorption spectroscopy technique. The goal is to measure the concentration of several relevant gases, such as ammonia and methane, at the part-per-billion level. It does not need external calibration, relying on a particular wavelength modulation spectroscopy signal processing. An optimized control logic coupled with a machine learning driving technique brings the sensor to operational.

Such proof-of-concept overcomes the current gas detection limitation in the 1,55 μm band and envisages a clear path out of the lab for exploitation. PHUSION potential impact is high, as it fits into the expected total market for the environmental sensors of 3.8 bn USD by 2030 and addresses the grand challenge of zero-emission agriculture.

Stefano Tondini

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