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EU MIRPHAB project unveils IR sensor

Novel chemical sensor six-times faster than alternatives

The European MIRPHAB (Mid InfraRed PHotonics devices fABrication for chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications) project has unveiled a chemical sensor capable of detecting drugs and explosives from a distance of 30m.

The MIRPHAB project, built around an 18-strong consortium, has €13 million of funding from the EC's Photonics Public Private Partnership (PPP) as well as €2 million from the Swiss government. The aim is to establish a pilot  line to serve the growing needs of European industry in the field of analytical micro-sensors. 

The new sensing device can detect chemicals at a rate of 1 200 per hour - over six times more than standard portal scanners.  The aim is to shrink current technology down to the size of a mobile phone. To achieve this, the R&D process taps into project partners' expertise in the field of spectroscopy, MIR optolelectronics, sensing systems and applications. 

Jose Pozo, director of technology and innovation at the European Photonics Industry Consortium, says that the breakthrough could lead to new business and commercial opportunities for SMEs and large industrial groups. The foreseen pilot line will not only enable reduced cost, power consumption and size, but the exploitation of a mixed Si/III-V technology is also foreseen to open the way to applications not addressable with current technologies and components.

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