Introducing Optical Gas Sensors on a Chip

Senseair AB, AMO GmbH, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology Ltd, Graphenea Semiconductor SL, Universität der Bundeswehr München, Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), and SCIPROM Sàrl recently unveiled the ULISSES project, a European collaboration to create a new group of miniaturized optical gas sensors on a chip.

The ULISSES project partners will work together to integrate silicon photonics with 2D materials, to enable fully integrated optical gas sensing nodes for the Internet of Things (IoT) that can be made in large volumes economically and achieve performance enhancements in terms of power consumption and size. The progress would enable personal gas sensors fitted in wearable devices, as well as equipped in public infrastructure, such as in street lighting, in taxis, and on buses, or even in small unmanned aerial vehicles. The new technology hopes to empower the public to be aware and put demands on their air quality.

ulisses air sensors

Optical Gas Sensors

Gas sensors are already extensively used in agriculture and industry, to guarantee safety of personnel and to track and automate processes. However, the growing basic awareness of the importance of urban outdoor and indoor air quality is currently driving demand for accurate, economical, and mobile gas sensor technology. Optical gas sensors offer the market’s highest sensitivity, specificity, and stability, but their present-day cost, size, and power consumption hamper them from being extensively used by the general public.

The Role of ULISSES

The ULISSES technology will allow compact, economical, and low-power gas sensor nodes to be networked for complete and real-time monitoring of air quality in urban zones. This new method will offer useful information to employers, city planners, and landlords to ensure a healthy outdoor and indoor environment.

By leveraging the latest innovations of the ULISSES partners on waveguide integrated 2D materials-based photodetectors, mid‏-IR waveguide-based gas sensing, and 1D nanowire mid-IR emitters, ULISSES concentrates on a three-order-of-magnitude reduction in sensor power consumption, thus allowing, for the first time, maintenance-free battery-powered operation. Moreover, ULISSES will execute a new edge-computing self-calibration algorithm that leverages node-to-node communications to remove the primary cost driver of economical gas sensor fabrication and upkeep.


In the next four years, Senseair AB, one of the top gas sensor suppliers, will coordinate the ULISSES project with the help of SCIPROM. Using systems designed by Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology, AMO will fabricate the silicon photonics chips having integrated silicon waveguides and 2D material-based photodetectors, created by KTH and AMO. The 2D materials will be offered by the Universität der Bundeswehr München and Graphenea. Senseair will lead the various application demonstrators and ready the sensors for IoT applications along with KTH. ICN2 will deliver modeling and simulation support to enhance sensor design and efficiency.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Graphenea.

For more information on this source, please visit Graphenea.


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