22 November 2017
CST Global receives £131,600 funding to develop wafer-based MWIR imagers with University of Glasgow and Gas Sensing Solutions
III-V optoelectronic foundry Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd (CST Global) of Hamilton International Technology Park, Blantyre, near Glasgow, Scotland, UK (a subsidiary of Sweden’s Sivers IMA Holdings AB) is to lead the ‘active-matrix, single-photon technologies on GaAs’ project, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and Gas Sensing Solutions. The project will develop light-weight, monolithic mid-wave infrared (MWIR) imagers, capable of detecting a single photon of IR light. This is primarily used to image gasses and diagnose their composition. Potential uses of the technology are widespread, once commercially viable, says CST.
“Current, commercially available MWIR imaging systems require expensive cryogenic cooling to operate,” notes project lead Dr Laura Meriggi, device development engineer at CST Global. “They are bulky, use high-cost materials and are difficult to produce. However, if produced in a lower-cost format, they have the potential to be used to improve human health and safety in a wide range of markets, such as biomedical imaging and environmental monitoring,” she adds. “Potential applications range from military, home safety and the oil & gas industries, through to the monitoring of urban air quality and pollution.”
The Micro-System Technology (MST) group at the University of Glasgow, with commercial partners QuantIC and Gas Sensing Solutions (GSS), have previously developed IndiPix, an MWIR imager that integrates indium antimonide (InSb) photodiodes (PDs) with gallium arsenide (GaAs) metal-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MESFETs) to individually address each pixel. IndiPix was able to detect and image carbon dioxide concentration. It also operates at room temperature and eliminates the need for flip-chip bonding (the costly and low-yield manufacturing process that was previously used).
“The MWIR imaging project at CST Global will transfer the current monolithic MWIR imager technology into a compact, commercially viable, 4” wafer format,” says Meriggi. “This will make it a highly cost-effective way of imaging trace gases.”
The MWIR imaging project is government-funded through Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). CST Global is the project leader and will receive £131,600 contribution over 18 months from October 2017, with a total project fund value of £320,271.