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Young Explorers Target Mid-IR Broadband for Real-Life Applications

BRUSSELS, March 5, 2014 — Mid-IR broadband light sources are not yet widely found in real-life applications; however, an international team of young researchers may soon change that by developing an ultracompact, graphene-based version of the device.

The project, called Graphenics, was funded through Young Explorers, a program administered by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program. The undertaking will team up scientists from Vrije Universiteit Brussels, the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology in Poland, Vienna University of Technology and the University of Toronto.

The light source could potentially assist in applications including noninvasive medical diagnostics for diabetes patients and optical safety testing of drinking water.

“We will target mid-infrared broadband light generation on a chip where both the chip and the pump laser exciting the chip are made extremely compact,” said project coordinator Nathalie Vermeulen, of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. “The pump laser that we will develop will be a novel small-sized pulsed fiber laser optimized for mid-infrared operation without the need for a bulky cooling system.”

Graphene enables more efficient broadband light generation within a much smaller footprint.

The €920,000 (about $1.3 million) Graphenics project will run through 2016.

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