Current Projects

AQUARIUS The AQUARIUS project addresses the development of a new generation of photonic sensing solution, in response to the need for pervasive sensing for a safer environment. In particular components, modules, sub-systems and systems shall be developed for enhanced sensitivity and specificity measurements in water monitoring following the requirements of regulatory bodies, as well as the needs of selected end-users such as waterworks and the oil producing industry. Specifically addressed within the AQUARIUS project is the detection of hydrocarbon contaminations in water (Oil-in-Water contaminations). While most current laboratory with analytical techniques (e.g. mass spectrometry) can in principle handle these tasks, they are often labour and cost intensive as well as time consuming. In most cases they require samples to be taken at e.g. the water works facility and then transferred to the analytical laboratory. Therefore it would be very helpful if on- or even inline analytical sensors with high sensitivity were available, allowing for a reliable and continuous real-time monitoring on site.

» project website

PIXAPP PIXAPP is the world’s first open-access Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) Assembly and Packaging Pilot line, and helps users exploit the breakthrough advantages of PIC technologies.
PIXAPP consists of a highly-interdisciplinary team of Europe’s leading industrial & research organisations, and provides users with single-point access to PIC assembly and packaging.
The Pilot Line Gateway Office is PIXAPP’s the easy-access interface for external users, and is located at the Tyndall National Institute, in Ireland. The Gateway is managed by an experienced team, including technical experts to review incoming user requests, and project managers to organise the PIXAPP supply chain.
PIXAPP bridges the ‘valley of death’ often associated with moving from prototyping to low-volume fabrication, by giving companies an easy-access route to transferring R&D results to the market.

» project website

The project titled InSCOPE, has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and aims to create an open access pilot line service for Hybrid & Printed systems. The pilot line is modular ensuring a comprehensive toolbox of printing, assembly, production integration and process validation distributed over the InSCOPE partners. Building the revolutionary platform business model on the European ecosystem to allow faster transition of product concept from R&D to product and support the build of manufacturing capacity will also give a great chance for SMEs to enter the market with THIN, ORGANIC and LARGE AREA ELECTRONICS enabled products. The technology is well suited for applications that require flexibility combined with smart functionalities, especially in the health, smart packaging and smart building, and automotive sector. Lower manufacturing cost and fast access to prototypes are the main drivers of hybrid process integration for protentional users. imec-Cmst will lead the design activities, optimize the inline testing and develop test plans for evaluating the life time of hybrid TOLAE products.

InForMed In the InForMed project an integrated pilot line for medical devices will be established, covering the complete innovation chain from technology concept to system qualification. It will include micro-fabrication, assembly and even the fabrication of smart catheters. Uniquely, the integrated pilot line is hosted by a large industrial end-user, and is specifically targeted and equipped to bridge the gap in the landscape of micro-fabrication of medical devices between concept creation and full-scale production.
39 Partners from 10 countries participate in the project to form manufacturing networks and an eco-system where new medical devices van be seeded and nurtured to grow into new business opportunities for Europe, in a time when there is a paradigm shift from large expensive diagnostic equipment towards small, disposable, minimal invasive and un-obtrusive diagnostic and therapeutic instruments and tools.

» project website

A smart contact lens is a device in direct contact with the eye, having integrated electronic functionalities in order to improve the well-being of the user. In that respect, these devices are envisaged to address diverse complex aspects, such as providing augmented reality, performing biomedical sensing and correcting or improving vision. For the first two application areas, possible approaches have already been demonstrated. However, the use of smart contact lenses to correct vision has only been recently proposed through the help of integrated liquid crystal (LC) cells. The integration of these LC cells in a contact lens is in particular appealing for ophthalmological disorders like iris perforation and presbyopia; the latter alone affecting more than 1 billion people. The STRETCHLENS platform envisages the hybrid integration of electro-optic capabilities (e.g. LC cells), RF transmission (e.g. antenna, ultra-thin Si chip - UTC), specific biomarker sensing (e.g. to identify some types of cancer cells) and thin-film based stretchable electrical interconnections. The platform, besides being stretchable due to the spherical shape of eye and manipulations during insertion/extraction of the lens, will incorporate novel 3-D electrical interconnections which will allow for multilayer metallization to integrate UTC’s, minimizing surface area and greatly improving miniaturization. Furthermore, the project will develop new knowledge through technological advancement and models of adhesion/cohesion at the interface of hard/soft composites, in order to predict delamination failures and optimize assemblies through design. The completion and development of such highly integrated stretchable systems will open up diverse research opportunities in the fields of biomaterial science, stretchable micromechanics, and autonomous biomedical and conformal electronics smart systems.

Spirit SPIRIT is a 3-year collaborative project on photonic integration that brings together seven leading European universities, research centers and companies. The project was launched in December 2013 and is co-funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP 7).
SPIRIT aims to build a fully programmable transceiver in a single package for Terabit optical transport networks capable of superchannel grooming on a gridless basis and SDN functionality on board. The SPIRIT transceiver will support near future 400G implementation and forthcoming 1T traffic demands providing the necessary flexibility in modulation format by dynamic adjustment of single and multi-carrier QAM up to 16 bits/s/Hz spectral efficiency and multi-level modulation with 5-bit resolution driving electronics. Variable baud rates up to 32 GBaud will generate throughputs up to 512Gb/s on a single wavelength and 1Tb/s on two wavelengths on a single device.

» project website

Actphast The ACTPHAST (Access CenTer for PHotonics innovAtion Solutions and Technology Support) project is a unique “one-stop-shop” for supporting photonics innovation by European companies. ACTPHAST supports and accelerates the innovation capacity of European companies by providing them with direct access to the expertise and state-of-the-art facilities of Europe's leading photonics research centres (the ACTPHAST Partners), enabling companies to exploit the tremendous commercial potential of applied photonics. There are 23 research institutes who together make up the ACTPHAST Partners. Together the ACTPHAST Partners provide a full spectrum of photonics technology platforms ranging from fibre optics and micro optics, to highly integrated photonic platforms, with capabilities extending from design through to full system prototyping.

» project website

Rev-Up The project addresses a major question in electronics industry: “How to test to guarantee a certain product lifetime under specified working conditions?” This question lacks a satisfactory answer, especially in the light of important technological developments of the last decade. The project’s goal is to fundamentally revise and improve the way reliability testing of electronics is performed. Reliability testing must become more effective and more consistent with the increased complexity and the evolution of material use in electronics as well as the widening of the working conditions of electronics.
A new reliability testing methodology combined with proper Design-for-Reliability as well as electronic part and material qualification - all based on physics-of-failure knowledge - needs to replace the experience based black-box environmental testing typically used in industrial product development. This “black box” approach is costly, time-consuming and ineffective because of major changes that have and are taking place in the use of electronic materials. The project will establish the basis of an integrated DfReliability, part/material qualification and reliability test approach with maximized efficacy at minimal test and design iteration cost.

Rev-Up There is currently no "universal" tool that allows monitoring and predicting the health of composite material structures. This strategic project therefore first targets to develop new sensor technologies with unprecedented characteristics that can support the realization of such a universal tool. This tool essentially required for industrial structures which, by construction, accumulate a large number of singularities and present much more variability than coupons produced under laboratory conditions. This research project therefore not only targets research on coupon level but also on industrial component level. Furthermore, the consortium will consider all stages of the life cycle of a composite material product, from material fabrication to operation of the structure.

The main goal of the project Secondos is to drastically extend the application potential of light steering components based on liquid crystal materials, by demonstrating devices that overcome the main limitations of the current state-of-the-art components. More specifically, we want to tackle several important limitations that currently prevent light steering components based on liquid crystals from being applied in many photonic products.
In this project we will work with two different types of demonstrators. Concept demonstrators are components with a basic optical functionality and for which the research focus is towards a precise specification. For example, a smart optical component that allows to reposition the focus of an incident parallel beam of light with a given switching speed. The working area of these concept demonstrators will be small in order to limit the production cost. Another type of demonstrators are the application demonstrators. These are components with a more complex optical functionality that is often comprised of two basic adaptive functionalities. The aimed specifications are chosen in function of a specific application domain. For example, a smart optical component that redirects the light from an LED in two dimensions. And this with a sufficient steering range and switching speed for application as an eye steering backlight. The working area of these application demonstrators is large and the light manipulation may vary for different positions across the component.

» project website

The project starts from the observation that despite impressive research results, and a huge interest from industry, silicon photonics thus far has only found limited use in real applications. There are several reasons for this, e.g. cost of packaging, lack of a flexible and cost-effective electro-optical integration approach, remaining problems with some of the basic devices - in particular modulators -and non-optimized electronic driver design for the specific silicon photonics devices. To resolve these problems, a true interdisciplinary approach between specialists in advanced photonic circuit design, smart packaging techniques, new optical materials and complex electronic driver design is required. The objective of this proposal is therefore to overcome these issues by bringing together the expertise of three research groups, which each are at the forefront of European research in their respective domains and who together address all of the disciplines brought up above:

  • The Photonics Research Group (PRG) with extensive experience in Photonic IC design and Advanced optical materials (D. Van Thourhout, G. Roelkens).
  • The Centre for Microsystems Technology (CMST) covering the area of smart packaging solutions and in particular smart photonic packaging (G. Van Steenberge).
  • The INTEC Design group which is one of the world’s most renowned groups in electronic IC design for complex receivers and transmitters circuits, especially for optoelectronic applications (Johan Bauwelinck)

All Current & Finished Projects

You can find a table with all current and finished projects on this page.