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Posted: Jan 18, 2011

Imec at SPIE Photonics West - CMOS image sensors, hyperspectral imaging, silicon photonics, and more

(Nanowerk News) CMOS processes currently used to manufacture logic and/ DRAM chips can open a whole new market of smart devices and microsystems. By integrating CMOS chip technology with sensors, actuators, passives, MEMS, optics, etc. smart devices with new functionalities can be developed.
Imec's expertise covers a range of technologies to create such new smart devices:
NVISION: advanced imaging and 3D visualization
Within its NVISION program, imec develops revolutionary new imaging systems such as hyperspectral cameras and smart zoom lenses, based on micromirror technologies, at acceptable cost. By using CMOS technology new functionalities can be integrated which are not possible with today's technologies.
Hyperspectral cameras, compared to traditional cameras, divide the light spectrum in many small wavelength bands. Therefore, a hyperspectral camera captures the spectral fingerprint of an object, a unique spectral curve giving very detailed information about that object. Today's hyperspectral cameras are bulky and slow and very expensive. This makes them only suitable for research purposes. However, they show a huge potential in many application domains. Imec's research into hyperspectral imaging aims at developing a high-speed, user-friendly, compact, flexible and cost-effective MEMS-based solution, relevant for industry, agriculture and medical practice.
With respect to smart lenses, imec focuses on embedding micromirror arrays into the optics of cameras to make a very compact, lightweight, high quality and cheaper zoom lenses. By controlling the tilt angles of individual micromirrors in the array, the focal distance can be varied. This way, a zoom lens can be constructed that enables zooming without any macro-physical movements.
Silicon photonics
Imec offers a silicon photonics platform allowing miniaturization of complex photonic functions on a single chip and a dense integration of photonics and electronics. This platform allows the development of photonic components with nanometer-scale accuracy over large writing fields, enabling true large-scale photonic integrated circuits.
The ability to use standard microelectronic CMOS manufacturing facilities and processes to realize optical functions makes silicon photonics commercially very attractive. The submicron precision of standard microelectronic CMOS processes allow to integrate a variety of optical functions in a very small chip that consumes far less power than traditional optical components. The performance, enabled by the high accuracy of the semiconductor manufacturing tools, is an important benefit but of even more interest is the potential to lower manufacturing costs and increase volume production, much as it is in the regular semiconductor industry.
High-end CMOS image sensors
Imec's high-end CMOS image sensor platform develops high performance large-area imagers for applications in space imaging, medical imaging, industrial monitoring, scientific imaging, hyperspectral imaging, ...
Imec's MEMS platform offers prototyping and low volume production of MEMS devices. It allows the integration of MEMS with driving and readout electronics on the same substrate, essential to improve the performances of the devices and to reduce the dimensions of the packages.
Imec presentations at the Photonics West conference (January 25-27, 2011 San Francisco, CA; Booth 5129, North Hall, The Moscone Center)
>Kristof.T Vandoorne, M. Fiers, D. Verstraeten, B. Schrauwen, J. Dambre, P. Bienstman, Optical signal processing with a network of semiconductor optical amplifiers in the context of photonic reservoir computing,accepted for publication in Photonics West, United States, (to be published).
>Paulline Mechet, L. Liu, R. Kumar, K. Huybrechts, T. Spuesens, G. Roelkens, E.-J. Geluk , T. De Vries , P. Regreny , D. Van Thourhout, R. Baets, G. Morthier, Heterogeneously Integrated Microdisk Lasers for Optical Interconnects and Optical Logic,(invited) publication in SPIE Photonics West 2011, United States, (to be published).
>Nannicha Hattasan, L. Cerutti, J.B. Rodriguez, E. Tournie, D. Van Thourhout, G. Roelkens, Heterogeneous GaSb/SOI mid-infrared photonic integrated circuit for spectroscopic applications,(invited) publication in Photonics West, (to be published).
>Gunther Roelkens, Y. De Koninck, S. Keyvaninia, S. Stankovic, M. Tassaert, M. Lamponi, G. Duan, D. Van Thourhout, R. Baets, Hybrid Silicon Lasers,(invited) publication in SPIE Photonics West 2011, United States, (to be published).
About imec
Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,750 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2009, imec's revenue was 275 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.
Source: imec
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