Why Photonic Thermometry:
The principle advantage of photonic sensor technology is that it is a low cost, lightweight, portable, and electromagnetic interference-resistant solution that can be deployed in a wide variety of settings ranging from controlled laboratory conditions to a noisy factory floor to the variable environment of a residential setting.
Realization of photonic temperature sensors will move us away from electrical measurements, along with their attendant limitations, and into frequency measurement, opening up an entirely new landscape of possibilities where photonic temperature sensors can be built with self-diagnosing and self-calibration capabilities. Such sensor networks will impact a broad swath of industries including aerospace; green chemistry; fossil fuel energy production; environmental monitoring in office, laboratory, and manufacturing settings; and biomedical devices for bio-telemetry applications.
We are focusing on photonic devices that exploit the thermo-optic effect to translate thermal changes into frequency shifts. The principle focus of our efforts is silicon photonics, where we are developing a range of devices including optical whispering gallery mode resonators (ring resonators), Bragg waveguides, photonic cavities, and photonic crystal structures.
Our preliminary results indicate that silicon photonic devices provide measurement capabilities that are at the minimum competitive with current state-of-the-art devices in photonic and resistance thermometry. In addition to developing novel silicon photonic temperature sensors, we are exploring the use of fiber Bragg gratings in embedded sensor applications.
Our goal is to utilize our know-how of silicon photonic devices to develop cavity opto-mechanical devices that serve as deployable self-calibrating sensors.
For manufacturing application requiring 10 mK accuracy we are developing a ring resonator-based photonic thermometer. Ring resonators are known to exhibit a periodic notch filter-like response where resonant frequency shows a temperature-dependent shift due to changes in the material properties, namely thermal expansion and the thermo-optic effect.
If you are interested in joining our team as a post-doc, guest researcher, collaborator, or student volunteer, or if you would like to visit the lab and see the latest developments in thermodynamic metrology, send us an email.