Integrated Sensing

Our research group is at the forefront of developing miniaturized integrated optical sensors. These sensors are designed to detect a wide range of wavelengths, from visible light to the infrared spectrum. They are also capable of identifying various properties of light, such as phase and polarization. This makes them highly versatile and useful for a range of applications.

The key advantage of metasurface-based sensors is their enhanced sensing capability, low size, weight and power-requirements (SWaP).  Optical sensors offer the unique potential to hit the three high points in sensing – sensitivity, selectivity, and reversibility.

Industry applications for our sensors are wide-ranging. We are currently working with partners in the space, medical, agricultural, and defence fields to translate this new technology into real-world outcomes. Our sensors can be found in wearable blood oxygen monitor prototypes, drones that monitor crop health, and weapon systems.

The technology readiness levels (TRLs) of our sensors range from 2 to 5 and we anticipate the rapid development of this as the Centre’s research progresses and as our industry collaborations grow.

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Potential Applications

The impact of meta-optics will be not unlike the impact of the transistor. It will find its way into every device in homes, offices, vehicles and beyond the stratosphere. Some examples of applications for meta-optics include:

Infrared Imaging

  • Monitoring crop health as well as soil moisture and temperature for more efficient and precise irrigation and fertilization
  • Monitoring the temperature of transported goods to improve food safety
  • Enhanced night vision systems, target acquisition and missile guidance

Gas sensing

  • Non-invasive breath testing for disease detection and management
  • Portable multi-gas detectors for monitoring air quality testing in industrial settings
  • Monitoring of crops for efficient agricultural practice
  • Monitoring of food perishability during transport and storage
  • Detection of dangerous gases for defence

Bio Sensing

  • Monitoring vital signs with wearable devices
  • Mobile phone-based disease diagnostic devices
  • Detecting contaminants and pathogens in food samples

Current TMOS Projects

  • Nanowire quantum well infrared photodetecctors for SWIR/MIR imaging | CI Lan Fu | ANU | TRL2
  • Metasurface/nanowire LED integrated optical sensing |CI Lan Fu | ANU | TRL1
  • Miniaturised mid-infrared spectrometer for chemical classification| CI Kenneth Crozier | UoM | TRL4
  • Nanowire infrared avalanche photodetectors towards single photon detection | CI Lan Fu, CI Hoe Tan, CI Chennupati Jagadish | ANU | TRL3
  • Nanowire gas sensing for personalised health monitoring CI Lan Fu | ANU | TRL3
  • Meta-optic enabled coverslip for real-time phase imaging of live cells | CI Ann Roberts | UoM | TRL3
  • Optical non-invasive sensing of biomarkers | CI Madhu Bhaskaran | RMIT | TRL 2
  • Miniaturised optical devices for health monitoring | CI Sharath Sriram | RMIT | TRL 4