LUX Photonics Consortium

The LUX Photonics Consortium is an initiative by the Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS); and is supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore. The Consortium aims to serve as a catalyst to propel Singapore’s photonics research and industry to be a world leader in light enabled technology that drive life changing innovation and inventions.

Our Technology Offers

Gas Leak Imaging with Single Pixel Imaging Technology

The global gas detectors market is valued at US$ 2.6 Billion in 2018 and is projected to reach US$ 3.6 Billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period, because of increased safety awareness and requirements all over the world.

The technology offers an imaging solution for hazardous gas leak detection with only few detectors in various industries dealing with chemicals and fuels.

The technology consists of 2 types of unprecedented few-pixel IR cameras with both advanced sensing techniques and a proprietary algorithm.

  • Passive camera: imaging with external IR light sources (sun, heat sources, lamp or other artificial IR light sources etc.)
  • Passive/Active camera: In addition to passive camera, the active mode relies on active IR laser patterns.

Similar to wide-field IR cameras, our solution will monitor the site reliably; having only a few detectors will cut 80% of the cost of conventional cameras. The hybrid serial/parallel detection with proprietary algorithm enhances frame rate to achieve real time industrial standard images.

Nanofabrication Platform for Nano-Optical Elements

Structures with dimensions much smaller than the wavelength of light possess interesting light altering properties. Inspired by color-altering properties of nano-materials in nature, e.g. colorful iridescence of opals, certain bird feathers, and insects, sophisticated optical elements, such as holograms and structural color filters has been demonstrated by the team. Such devices could find use in anti-counterfeiting applications, sensors, and displays.

This technology offer is a platform to design and fabricate Nano-Optics. The team has core capabilities in high-resolution patterning using 2D and 3D printing approaches, as well as advanced algorithms including Deep Neural Network, enabling it to develop functional optical materials for partners.

The team operates out of a cleanroom that boasts state-of-the-art equipment, using Electron Beam Lithography (EBL) for printing features as small as a few nanometers, and an advanced femtosecond laser Two-photon Polymerization Lithography (TPL) system for nanoscale 3D printing. The technology is most suited for rapid and accurate prototyping of small-area samples of a few millimeters.

The team seeks to engage with companies and academia in meaningful partnerships to tackle technical challenges and gain competitive advantages. In particular, the team is looking for partners with complementary capabilities in nanofabrication and scale-up technologies to discover new technologies and solve industrial challenges by developing various nano-3D-printed devices such as holograms and plug-and-play optics, while integrating machine learning into the design of complex 3D nanostructures.

Chip-Scale Spectroscopic Sensors for IoT Applications

This technology offer presents a chip-scale mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopic sensor based on the integration of silicon-on-calcium fluoride (SOCF) waveguide sensor and graphene photodetector. The sensor can discriminate and quantify numerous chemical and biological molecules in a label-free and surface-functionalization-free manner through their absorption fingerprints in the MIR spectrum. The waveguide-integrated photodetector on-chip converts optical sensing signal to electrical signal, which can be directly collected for analysis. Our device can be employed for various in-situ chemical and bio-sensing applications (such as environmental monitoring, industrial process control, medical diagnostics, etc.) and further, the construction of internet of things (IoT) sensor networks.

Yttria-based Laser Ceramics Fabrication

High power solid-state lasers have many applications in industry, medicine, and scientific research. Currently, the mainstream solid-state laser gain media used are the rare-earth doped YAG (Yttrium Aluminium Garnet) single crystals. For high power laser operation, the thermal-optical properties of the laser gain medium such as the thermal conductivity and photon energy plays an essential role.

As yttria has larger thermal conductivity and lower phonon energy than YAG, yttria-based laser gain media could potentially have better high-power laser performance. However, due to the high melting point of yttria, it is very challenging to grow yttria crystals. The research team has developed a unique low temperature vacuum sintering plus hot isostatic pressing method for fabricating high lasing efficiency, yttria-based laser ceramics that can be used to replace the YAG-based laser gain media for better laser operation but with lower cost.

A Single-Pixel Mid-Infrared Spectrometer for Solid, Liquid, and Gas Sensing.

The single-pixel mid-infrared spectrometer is a compact, cost-effective, and high-performance instrument that can be used for solid, liquid, and gas sensing. It can detect the spectral footprint of the tested samples to distinguish its constituent components. It can also be used for analyzing the concentration of multiple gases in the air. The spectrometer works in the 3000nm to 4000nm wavelength range, where numerous hydrocarbons, alcoholates, and amides have strong absorption peaks. It has the potential to be developed into an open-path gas analyzer, which can be widely applied in the petrochemical, agrochemical, pharmaceutical, and polymer industries among others. In addition, the single-pixel mid-infrared spectrometer can also be used for environmental monitoring, especially for urban air remote sensing and environmental sustainability management.

GeSn/Ge Technology-Material Growth, Engineered Substrate and Devices

The Near-Infrared (NIR) and Mid-Infrared (MIR) range has attracted much research interest because of its practical applications in optical sensing, imaging and communications. Group IV photonic integrated circuits (PICs) have drawn attraction for such applications with cost-effectiveness, low power consumption, ultra-compact device footprint, and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) compatibility.

Our technology provides the solutions for the above applications from material growth, such as epitaxial GeSn/Ge films, black Si (b-Si); engineered substrate, such as Ge-on-insulator (GOI), GeSn-on-insulator (GSOI), flexible nanomembrane; and device fabrication such as photodetector.

For material growth:

  1. The epitaxial growth of GeSn films with Sn content varying from 4 to 11% using digermanium (Ge2H6) and tin chloride (SnCl4) as precursors in a commercial Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) system under reduced pressure condition have been achieved;
  2. Black Si with an ultra-low light reflectance has been achieved with GeX (metal) thin alloy assisted etching process.

For engineered substrate:

  1. GOI and GSOI substrates have been fabricated through direct wafer bonding (DWB) which involves the development of chemical and mechanical polishing (CMP) process;
  2. Flexible nanomembranes have been achieved and are better shaped and adapted to different substrates.

For devices fabrication:

Photodetectors with various techniques have been achieved for enhancing the performances such as detectivity, responsivity, low dark current density and so on.

Multi-functional Fibers for Flexi-Wearable Fabrics

This technology offer presents a wearable fabric that allows seamless integration of multi-functional components into one flexible fiber with precise control over nanometer-level architecture and composition at fiber length, uniformity, and cost. Integrating such kind multi-functional fibers hold special promise for a variety of unique applications due to their peculiar geometry, aspect ratio mechanical properties, or wearable and flexible attributes. These new fibers and their multi-dimensional fabrics can be integrated with sensors and actuators, enabling the wearable fabric to have the ability to “see” objects, “hear” sound, sense stimuli, communicate, store and convert energy, modulate temperature, monitor health, and dissect brains.

Black Silver Biosensor Material

This technology offers a method to develop an optical material that is highly sensitive to biomarkers that contact it. By measuring the intensity of light reflected from this film, it is possible to sense femtomolar (10-15M) concentrations of biomolecules without labeling. The material is 90% silver but its nanostructure surface gives it a black appearance, hence the name “Black Silver”.

Black Silver can be fabricated in asingle-step process using an industrially proven and scalable technique. In contrast to the current state of the art, this technology offers a cost-effective, efficient, and industrially scalable method to manufacture plasmonic biosensor porous surfaces at room temperature, and without wet chemistry.

The technology owner seeks partners with experience in developing biosensor technologies and commercialising research.

High-resolution Ocular Imaging System

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in Asia and around the world. Glaucoma is caused by irregularities in the ocular aqueous outflow system, which leads to elevated intraocular pressure and the death of retinal ganglion cells, resulting in vision loss. High-resolution visualization of the aqueous outflow system inside the eye would be extremely useful in diagnosing disease and for monitoring the effects of medical and surgical interventions that lower intraocular pressure. Currently available ocular imaging devices in general are unable to deliver high-resolution images for the visualization of the iridocorneal angle comprising of the trabecular meshwork (TM), which is an essential part of the aqueous outflow system of the eye. A non-contact, in vivo ocular imaging system for recording high-resolution (sub-micrometer) images of the trabecular meshwork using Bessel-Gauss beam scanned light-sheet fluorescence microscopy is offered. The optical sectioning capability of this system helps in obtaining 3D volumetric images of the trabecular meshwork of an intact eye without any physical dissection. This system addresses some of the unmet clinical needs in ophthalmology and are targeted towards clinicians for the diagnosis and monitoring of the aqueous outflow system of the eye.

Compact Lamp Post Mountable Sunlight Delivery System

The technology offers a daylight harvesting device using an off-the-shelf acrylic ball and a single plastic optical fibre. The system is compact, lightweight and aesthetically designed to meet urban necessities.

The technology should appeal to building owners, architects, lighting designers and those who are concerned about energy conservation in view of the global climate changes.

A prototype is available for testing. We are looking for partners to commercialise this technology.

Cutting-Edge Hybrid Silicon Lasers and Silicon Photonics Platform

Of late, silicon photonics have emerged as the primary contender in the area of integrated optics, which has found applications beyond optical communications. Examples, while not exhaustive, include sensing, artificial intelligence, and LIDAR. This is affirmed by the increasing levels of investment into this area. By leveraging on the prior investments in silicon manufacturing, highly integrated photonic integrated circuits can be manufactured in a scalable fashion. However, it is intrinsically not possible to realize an efficient monolithic silicon laser. The team has overcome this problem through the demonstration of hybrid silicon lasers. Furthermore, the team also presents a complete pure silicon photonic platform. In summary, all optical functions are presented in the team’s photonic portfolio (i.e., lasing, modulation, photodetection, waveguiding). The team is looking for partners that would find further applications in regard to this hybrid silicon laser and silicon photonic platform.

LEDs for Enabling Wireless Communications and Internet-of-Things

There has been an increasing interest in LED communications, or Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), for secure, wireless communications. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are ubiquitous in our environment and can be used for communications, besides illumination. Data is transmitted by switching the LEDs on and off so rapidly that the eye cannot detect the switching. This opens up a wide range of unused, unregulated spectrum in the visible to infrared wavelengths, which can help address the communications bandwidth crunch. Li-Fi can be used in areas where RF signals cannot be received due to interference or restriction. The highly secure beam can protect sensitive data from cyberattacks.

This technology offer is a system for Li-Fi communications, including optical transceivers and dual purpose LEDs for detection and emission. By alternating between positive and reverse bias, a single LED chip can function as emitter and detector. This can reduce the footprint of the optical transceiver for miniature integration in laptop and handphone. The development team has also developed LED communication prototypes for real-time monitoring of sensor readings over a long range of more than 70m and for real-time streaming of high-definition video streaming with low latency. Some application areas include underwater communications, hospitals, military and underground tunnels. The development team is looking for potential end-users of technology and collaboration in technology development.