A Mid-infrared Spectroscopic Microscope Utilizing On-chip Supercontinuum Generation

Project: Research

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This project aims to develop a mid-infrared spectroscopic microscope capable of improved biomolecular identification and three-dimensional structural imaging. This microscope will be able to recognize many important biomolecules including protein, lipid, nucleic acid and carbohydrate through the characteristic molecular fingerprint spectral absorption in the mid-infrared wavelengths ranging between 2μm and 15μm.  The traditional spectroscopic microscope faces challenges for practical implementation because of the prohibitively expensive broadband mid-infrared light, while in contrast, this project will deliver a chalcogenide-glass-based single chip with an on-chip mid-infrared light, delivering low-cost, portable, mass-producible high quality broadband mid-infrared light source for spectroscopic microscope applications in physiology, biology and medicine.  The on-chip mid-infrared light is sourced from the recent success of broadband mid-infrared supercontinuum generation via integrated highly nonlinear chalcogenide waveguide. The chalcogenide glasses are a family of glasses containing one or more chalcogen elements which are of highly nonlinearity, negligible nonlinear absorption and excellent mid-infrared transparency.  This project aims to further optimize the on-chip chalcogenide waveguide via comprehensive material study and advanced nano-fabrication, tailoring the performance of the mid-infrared supercontinuum generation toward to the practical applications on critical properties including spectral coverage, output power, brightness, stability and coherence.  This project will deliver a cost-effective spectroscopic microscope with enhanced detection and imaging capabilities. For the first time, this will make high quality spectroscopic imaging accessible to a broad range of researchers and medical clinicians. The success of this project will also pave the way towards miniaturized on-chip spectroscopic microscope for wearable medical diagnosis at biomolecular level. The project will position Hong Kong at the forefront of this emerging field, with significant commercialization opportunities.  


Project number9048150
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/2010/06/20