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I-Corps: 6Sensing: Chip-scale Raman sensors


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is to provide on-chip optical sensors that enable faster and cheaper production of drugs and chemicals. Pharmaceutical R&D and production rely heavily on chemical analysis to provide insight into the processes at play, however analytical instruments do not follow the latest manufacturing trends towards single-use technologies and smaller batches, or even continuous production. Integrated (on-chip) photonics is an attractive sensing platform thanks to its small form factor, robustness, large multiplexing capability, and tight optical confinement that enhances light-matter interactions. This project will pioneer the large-scale use of integrated photonic sensors starting with chemical sensing, paving the way to other applications. By enabling a better understanding of the reactions at play in manufacturing processes, the proposed technology is poised to impact the pharmaceutical market and help improving public health.<br/><br/>This I-Corps project aims to develop the first practical implementation of a microchip-scale optical spectrometer. Integrated photonic product remain scarce due to several barriers at the fabrication and packaging levels. This project will mitigate these issues to offer equivalent sensitivity and performance to large benchtop optical spectrometers in a dramatically smaller form factor. This will be realized by combining recent advances in integrated photonic component design, photonic chip architecture, and optical packaging. The proposed sensor will enable novel chemical sensing applications and help with the understanding of processes at play in areas such as cell-based manufacturing and continuous-flow chemical manufacturing.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Juejun Hu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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