Monolithically integrated silicon photonic chip sensor for near-infrared trace-gas spectroscopy
We present a fully integrated photonic chip spectrometer for near-infrared tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy of methane (CH4). The integrated photonic sensor incorporates a heterogeneously integrated III-V laser/detector chip coupled to a silicon external cavity for broadband tuning, and a long waveguide element (>20 cm) for ambient methane sensing. An on-chip sealed CH4 reference cell is utilized for in-situ wavelength calibration of the external cavity, and a real-time wavelength compensation method for laser calibration is described and demonstrated. The resulting signal is guided back to the III-V photodiodes for spectral signal readout using a custom-designed acquisition board, remotely controlled and operated by a Raspberry Pi unit. Component-level testing of the waveguide sensitivity, external cavity laser, and reference cell is demonstrated. Full-stack testing of the integrated sensor chip yields sub-100 ppmvâ™Hz-1/2 sensitivity, and spectral density analysis demonstrates our integrated chip sensor to have a fundamental performance within an order of magnitude of commercially available fiber-pigtailed DFB laser units. We envision our integrated photonic chip sensors to provide disruptive capability in SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost) limited applications, and we describe an achievable short-term pathway towards sensitivity enhancement to near-10 ppmv levels.