The research fields of the laboratory is modelling, design, fabrication and characterization of optoelectronic and photonic waveguiding components and devices for a wide spectrum of applications such as inertial navigation, biochemical sensing, optoelectronic modulation, optoelectronic beamforming and steering, optoelectronic signal processing and so on.
The main current research topic are:
I. Modeling, design, and optical characterization of miniaturized optoelectronic gyros for aerospace
In the framework of a well-established collaboration with the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, we are developing optoelectronic gyros based on the integrated optical technologies. We are working towards the demonstration of the first fully integrated photonic gyro-on-a-chip, in InP technology. A Two demonstrators of the sensing element, a low-loss ring resonator with radius = 13 mm and a spiral resonator with length = 60 mm, has have been already fabricated/characterized in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institute, and the COBRA Institute, TU of Eindhoven. The cavities have has a Q factor close up to one million. Recently a very innovative approach for enhancing the Q factor of the ring resonators for gyros applications up to 10^9, with a calculated gyro resolution of 10^-3 °/h, has been envisaged in the framework of an ESA funded project. That approach was patented (pantent number EP056933) and two years ago, ESA approved, under the ESA NPI scheme, a cooperation agreement with our Lab on optical gyroscopes based on ring resonators and photonic crystals. In the framework of that agreement, a PhD fellowship has been funded. The research activity includes also the development of the readout electronics for resonant optical gyros. In cooperation with Sitael, a FPGA-based readout board has been designed, manufactured, and tested.
II. Biosensors based on photonic/plasmonic micro-cavities and hybrid photonic/plasmonic nanotweezers for future medicine
We have recently designed a multi-analyte biosensing platform with ultra-high resolution ( = 0.2 ng/mL),-which is appropriate for the detection in the human serum of a wide range of biomarkers, e.g. those allowing the lung cancer early diagnosis. The platform is based on a new configuration of planar ring resonator. The very strong light-matter interaction enabled by the micro-cavity allows a record limit-of-detection of 0.06 pg/mm^2, five times better than the state-of-the-art. We are currently investigating a plasmonic biosensor for protein biomarkers detection.
We have designed, fabricated and characterized a novel cavity that combines a photonic crystal nanobeam cavity with a plasmonic bowtie antenna. We have recently demonstrated the strong efficiency of the hybrid cavity as a nanotweezer for optical trapping.
III. Integrated microwawe photonics
We are developing new devices for photonic processing of RF signals. In particular, our attention is focused on delay lines and beamformers. Two graphene-based chip-scale resonant delay lines have been designed. The basic building block of both the devices is a couple of two vertically stacked ring resonators with a graphene/alumina/graphene capacitor placed between the rings.
Further details are available at: http://dei.poliba.it/optoelectronics/