Joint‐Research Partnership Formed to Advance Gas Sensing Technologies

Joint‐Research Partnership Formed to Advance Gas Sensing Technologies

Thorlabs
Contact: 
Laurie Morgus, Ph.D. Physics  Ecommerce Sales & Marketing Manager Thorlabs, Inc.
973‐300‐3000
lmorgus@thorlabs.com

Newton, NJ – June 1, 2017 – Thorlabs is pleased to announce the establishment of PolySense, a joint industry‐university research lab in the physics department at the Technical University in Bari, Italy, to focus on the research and development of innovative  optical  gas  sensing  systems.  The  move  augments  Thorlabs’  current  research  collaborations  with  Vincenzo  Spagnolo, an expert in optical gas sensing and associate professor at the Technical University in Bari. Professor Spagnolo will serve as the Director of PolySense.

The  detection  and  measurement  of  trace  gas  concentrations  is  of  importance  in  a  variety  of  applications,  including  environmental monitoring of greenhouse gases, disease diagnosis, industrial process control analysis, and detection of toxic and flammable gases. The Spagnolo group has extensive experience with the quartz‐enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy (QEPAS) technique, which uses a quartz tuning fork (QTF) as a detector for photo‐acoustic signals. Using QEPAS, extremely small concentrations of potentially harmful gases (a few tens of parts per trillion) can be measured.

Starting  from  the  QEPAS  technique  and  employing  Thorlabs’  engineering  resources  and  manufacturing  expertise,  the  PolySense lab will endeavor to design and produce QTF designs, optimized for different operation conditions. These QTFs will be incorporated into jointly‐designed acoustic detection modules to produce sensor prototypes for highly sensitive real‐time measurements.  The end goal is to provide portable solutions for in situ and real‐time gas detection, leading to advancements in breath analysis, environmental monitoring, leaks detection, hydrocarbon gas sensing, and monitoring of toxic gases and explosive precursors.

“We  are  excited  to  continue  our  partnership  with  Professor  Spagnolo’s  research  group  through  this  newly  formed  partnership,” said Verena Mackowiak, Team Leader of Research Projects at Thorlabs GmbH. “We look forward to identifying innovative ideas and sharing expertise to make highly sensitive QEPAS‐based trace‐gas sensors more accessible to a broader community.“

To support the newly formed strategic partnership, Thorlabs will provide the necessary instrumentation as well as technical staff and funding for both the research and personnel, while the university will provide the laboratory and office space as well as conduct the research.

Thorlabs, a vertically integrated photonics products manufacturer, was founded in 1989 to serve the laser and electro‐optics research market. As that market has spawned a multitude of technical innovations, Thorlabs has extended its core competencies in an effort to play an ever increasing role serving the Photonics Industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments. The organization’s highly integrated and diverse manufacturing assets  include  semiconductor  fabrication  of  laser  diodes,  optical  amplifiers,  lithium  niobate  modulators,  quantum  cascade/interband cascade lasers, and VCSEL lasers; fiber towers for drawing glass optical fibers (silica, fluoride, tellurite, and hollow core); MBE/MOCVD epitaxial wafer growth reactors; extensive glass and metal fabrication facilities; advanced thin film deposition capabilities; and optomechanical and optoelectronic shops.

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