Not one, but many, whispering gallery resonators signal a new form of spectroscopy

Photonics West 2012: ZiNIR Ltd is unveiling Solo Spectroscopy, a new method of spectroscopy, based on the concept of a whispering gallery resonator-based, diode-integrated spectrometer chip.

Within a monolithic chip structure, light released down a waveguide is coupled into a series of resonators and sets off a cacophony of whispering gallery modes. Each resonator buzzes to the tune of its own wavelength according to its radius; the buzz of photons energises the electrons which are then directly detected as a current. In this way each single whispering gallery resonator comes to act as a detector sensitive to a specific wavelength.

This poses huge potential for excellent spectral properties: since photons do not need to travel between a grating (or mirror) and a detector, the opportunity for stray light, the bugbear of many systems, is reduced.

However, the main benefit of monolithic chip-based spectrometry is its robust, go-anywhere character: it can sustain extreme temperatures and conditions, has no electrical or mechanical moving parts and so is maintenance-free; chips have low power and footprint requirements; chips can be installed with built-in redundancy and be easily embedded into buildings, cars, clothes, electronic equipment - challenging locations where spectroscopy has not previously been deployed.

Since the Solo Spectroscopy chip uses existing, standard semiconductor manufacturing methods based on single-stage epitaxial growth and etch processes it also makes for a cheap mass manufacture end product.

ZiNIR Chief Technology Officer Stephen Sweeney said: "This is a radical departure from conventional spectroscopic methods. By creating a chip that directly and selectively converts light at pre-determined wavelengths we cut out much of the complexity of conventional spectroscopy in a rugged, cheap to produce chip. This really has the potential to open up spectroscopy to hitherto unreachable areas".

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NOTES

About Zinir: ZiNIR Ltd is a product development company based in Eastbourne, UK that translates leading photonics research into useful, flexible products for scientists and industry. ZiNIR's current research and development interests lie in the design of solid state spectrometers, detectors and light sources.

  • Oral Presentation by Professor Stephen Sweeney at 11.20 am, Tuesday 24th January 2012, Room 236 (Mezzanine) on "The development of a novel monolithic spectrometer chip concept".
  • ZiNIR is exhibiting in the UK Pavilion, Booth #4109, North Hall.
  • For interviews with Professor Stephen Sweeney or one of the technical team at Photonics West, please contact Tracy Nuttalltracy.nuttall@zinir.com or SMS text +44 7714223514.
  • Additional material for the press will be available at Photonics West from the media centre.