CORNERSTONE’s fabrication infrastructure for silicon photonics helped UiT The Arctic University of Norway when they needed photonic integrated circuits to further their research into developing sensors capable of detecting different climate gases and pollutants.
Why did you get in contact with CORNERSTONE?
We are a small research group at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and our focus in on mid-infrared (MIR) photonics, particularly the developments of concepts and devices for MIR photonic spectroscopic sensors. However, we lacked the in-house fabrication infrastructure for silicon photonics. For many years we have collaborated with the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) and through this, we heard about CORNERSTONE and the services they provided. CORNERSTONE is one of only a few platforms that can offer MIR-compatible wafer dimensions and processes.
How did CORNERSTONE help with your requirements?
I have been impressed with the efficiency of CORNERSTONE. They have provided short processing times, and their responses and comments have been fast and to-the-point. I also appreciated the ability to be involved in deeper technical discussions that allowed us to gain more insight into the fabrication processes, expected output, and the design and processing parameter choice.
CORNERSTONE fabricated photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for us based on slot waveguides for the MIR, with a minimum feature size of 120nm. Low scattering loss, low density of fabrication defects and stitching errors, and low absorption at the MIR wavelength are all characteristics that are critical for our research which relies on long waveguide structures with flat spectral transmission. The PICs are currently being tested for their performance in the 2.5–5mm spectral range.
How will the work with CORNERSTONE help you in the future?
The samples we have received from CORNERSTONE will allow us to study chemical and spectroscopic detection of different climate gases and pollutants with an on-chip device. Our principal objective is to develop gas sensors based on an integrated photonic device, which will be small-size, lightweight, with low sample volume, and yet sensitive, accurate and reliable. The spectrum of possible applications ranges from monitoring of microbial metabolic processes to industrial process control and environmental research.
I expect to continue our work with CORNERSTONE so that we can further-improve the performance of our silicon-based photonic circuits for operation in the MIR.