Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a non-invasive imaging technique for investigating human brain function, uniquely capable of measuring brain activity with good spatial and temporal resolution. MEG operates by detecting magnetic fields naturally produced by the brain, with no applied fields or injections. Epilepsy diagnosis is the most advanced clinical application for MEG. Six million people are affected by epilepsy in Europe alone, with about 300 000 new cases every year. Use cases for MEG are growing, for example diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which represents more than half of the 2.5 million new TBI cases each year in Europe. Clinical use of MEG is at present limited to large hospitals and elite clinics due to space, cost and the need for specialized cryogenics technicians. Optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) are a cryogen-free quantum sensor technology with extraordinary magnetic sensitivity. Relative to cryogenic methods, OPM provide a superior balance of sensitivity, size and proximity to the cortex, but have not yet been implemented in technologies that are simultaneously manufacturable at scale, high-performing, and cost-effective. OPMMEG will develop an OPM array that meets these requirements for wide-spread use of OPMs in MEG, and demonstrate its application to magnetoencephalography. The project brings together world leaders in quantum sensor components and systems, commercial MEG systems and MEG applications. OMPMEG will build a value chain from photonic devices to systems connecting all relevant stakeholders. The consortium is composed of 2 SMEs, 2 world-class research organizations and 1 university from 3 European countries. The position of these organizations in their respective markets guarantees that the project results will be widely exploited, providing the companies with a technological advantage over their worldwide competitors thus creating new high-tech jobs and technology leadership in Europe.
In this proposal we describe a timely and disruptive solution to the long-standing and vexing problem of the rapid stand-off detection of explosive, toxic or otherwise hazardous materials which are present within potential- or post-terrorist attack or industrial accident sites. We will achieve this by realising highly sensitive, state-of-the-art handheld and tripod-mounted instruments based upon active hyperspectral imaging and detection. These will exploit the deep infrared molecular fingerprint waveband region, where these hazardous compounds exhibit their strongest and most distinctive optical absorption features. Crucially, by keeping our goal fixed on the needs of the end-user, we will realise high-TRL devices which are cost-effective, lightweight and highly utile. Within the lifetime of this project, these will ready for evaluation in end-use scenarios (as opposed to mere laboratory-based demonstration). Our consortium is uniquely placed to prosecute this programme as is it comprises world leading workers in every technology upon which this solution depends, from quantum-cascade laser source, MEMS and detector growth expertise to advanced imaging, signals processing and device integration. One refined, the technology we will pioneer will be evaluated by civil security partners who will implement them in a number of likely end-use scenarios, thus proving the potency and utility of our technology.
The project scope is to develop an innovative technology of germanium (Ge)-based VCSEL. The main objective is to develop a Ge-VCSEL epi-growth by MOCVD and MBE techniques and processing of high performance and reliable lasers to be integrated in 3D camera and LiDAR demonstrators. The key challenge is to achieve high crystal quality of grown layers while taking the advantage of a better crystallographic lattice sameness between Ge and Al gallium arsenide (GaAs), which enables to decrease misfit defects density and in consequence to increase the quantum efficiency of the device. Several characterisation methods will be used as X-ray diffraction and topography, depth high resolution SIMS, electron microscopy (SEM/TEM), atomic force microscopy, reflectance, PL mapping, and others. Each growing campaign will be concluded by processing of conventional VCSELs (GaAs-based) and VCSELs on Ge which will allow the verification of VCSELs parameters and comparison of both type devices. The VCSEL technology drives a dynamic market with constant need for innovative solutions. Demonstration of high performing devices of Ge-on-Si can unlock potentially large markets from optical data communications to imaging, lighting and displays, to the manufacturing sector, to life sciences, health care, security and safety. In commercial applications, the performance, costs and the strong reduction of toxic elements will be very important factors to drive a replacement of the current technology. The Ge, offering a higher yield and less production losses due to higher uniformity at larger size wafer, is promised to lower the environmental burden compared to expensive GaAs substrate. As the VCSEL sector is developing dynamically with laser production expected to triple in the next five years, the project, with its innovative Ge-VCSEL solution, has the potential to significantly contribute to the reduction of lasers’ global usage of toxic materials, and improve the device performances.
Cost effective multi-wavelength light sources are key enablers for wide-scale penetration of gas sensors at Mid-IR wavelength range. Utilizing a novel Mid-IR Si-based photonic integrated circuit filter and wide-band Mid-IR SLEDs, we aim at demonstrating an innovative light source that covers 2.7…3.5 µm wavelength range with a resolution < 1nm. The spectral bands are switchable and tuneable and they can be modulated. The source allows for the fabrication of an affordable multi-band gas sensor with good selectivity and sensitivity. The unit price can be lowered in high-volumes by utilizing tailored molded IR lens technology and automated packaging and assembling technologies. In safety and security applications, the Mid-IR wavelength range covered by the source allows for the detection of several harmful gas components with a single sensor. The project is filling a gap: affordable sources are not available. The market impact is expected to be disruptive, since the devices currently in the market are either complicated, expensive and heavy instruments, or the applied measurement principles are inadequate in terms of stability and selectivity. At the foreseen price level, the proposed approach is extremely competitive against conventional gas sensors. The source will be validated in several key applications including building ventilation, high voltage asset monitoring, emission monitoring, gas leakage monitoring as well as process control and safety. The consortium is composed of one large European company, three SMEs, and three world-class research organisations from three European countries representing the complete value chain from devices and components to gas sensor manufacturers. The position of these organizations in their respective markets guarantees that the project results will be widely exploited providing the companies with a technological advantage over their worldwide competitors thus creating new high-tech jobs and technology leadership in Europe.
AQUARIUS proposes disruptive improvements in laser based water sensing employing MIR quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). It is motivated by i) the EC Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) where hydrocarbons are identified as priority hazardous substances, ii) the industrial and regulatory need for fast and continuous detection of contaminants and iii) the current state-of-the-art of measuring these substances using QCLs as defined by project partner QuantaRed Technologies and described in ASTM D7678. AQUARIUS will improve this offline method by developing pervasive online and inline sensing strategies based on advanced photonic structures. For improved specificity a broadly (200 cm-1) tunable MOEMS based µEC-QCL source will be developed into a core spectrometer. High power, mode-hop free operation and unprecedentedly fast data acquisition (1000 spectra/s) will assure high S/N-ratios and thus high sensitivity. The system for online sensing (LOD: 1ppm) is based on automated liquid-liquid extraction and will be validated by project partner OMV for process and waste water monitoring. It will also be tested for identifying different sources of contaminations by project partner KWR in their water treatment and purification facilities. The system for inline sensing will be based on integrated optical circuits (IOC) including waveguides for evanescent wave sensing. Switching between individual waveguides of the IOC will enable quasi-simultaneous sample and background measurement and thus assure excellent long-term stability. By enrichment of analytes in polymer layers LODs as required for drinking (0.5ppb) and groundwater (50ppb) will be reached. AQUARIUS covers the supply chain from research institutes to system integrator and end users. It will push the online system from TRL 3 to 7 and the inline system from TRL 2 to 4 and thus reinforce the industrial leadership of the project partners regarding QCL based liquid sensing and photonic components (source, detector and IOCs).