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Chip scale resonant sensors


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Microelectronics; Quantum Science; Advanced Materials


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Design, fabricate and characterize a new category of optical sensors with reduced dimensions that can operate with high sensitivity and spectral selectivity using highly resonant photonic devices.


DESCRIPTION: Compact sensor chips engaging guided-mode lattice resonance effects are of high utility in quantitatively detecting biological analytes and chemical species. Compact chips with high well densities can be economically and expeditiously fabricated with nanoimprint methods. Recently discovered are new radiation properties enabled by defects in resonant photonic lattices (PL). Incorporating a defect breaks the lattice symmetry and generates radiation through stimulation of leaky waveguide modes near the non-radiant bound (or dark) state spectral location. It has been shown that the defects produce local resonant modes that correspond to asymmetric guided-mode resonances in spectra and near-field profiles. Without a defect, a symmetric lattice in the dark state is neutral, generating only background scattering. Incorporating a defect in the PL induces high reflection or transmission by robust local resonance radiation depending on the background radiation state at the bound state in the continuum (BIC) wavelengths. The sensing properties of resonance lattices incorporating defects are unexplored. The defect inclusions can be designed to host quantum states. Analogous methods have significant potential to enable new modalities of radiation control in metamaterials and metasurfaces based on defects including enablement of new sensing modalities via combined classical and quantum effects.


PHASE I: Awardee(s) will design a chip scale resonant sensor compatible with standard semiconductor nanofabrication platform:

  1. Select optimal materials and chemistry for IR operation.
  2. Apply detailed electromagnetic design methodology to achieve a leaky wave resonant sensor design that provides superior sensing performance.
  3. Evaluate expected operational capabilities versus conventional sensors, including evaluating the efficiency and signal-to-noise ratio.
  4. Develop a lithography and nanoimprint plan for a phase II effort which would involve building the sensor.


The sensor developed in this effort will demonstrate the feasibility of directly integrating these sensors into current and future DoD systems for operational and cost improvements.



  1. Build grating based sensor processing line specifically for resonant fabrication. Perform experimental verification of the proposed materials in the appropriate spectral regime. This would include testing and quality control on all steps of the lithography and chemical depositions processes to verify the range of realizable sensitivity.
  2. Refine/update and further optimize the designs using experimentally derived material properties and numerically verify the designs using full-wave electromagnetic modeling software.
  3. Fabrication of three or more of the optimized designs. Multiple fabrication rounds will be performed to optimize the fabrication of the sensors.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Partner with a DoD prime contractor to develop a fabrication process that is compatible with their current (or planned) IR sensors. Integration will demonstrate the SWaP-C compared to conventional systems. A statement of work and deliverables will be identified in conjunction with AFRL and prime partner.



  1. Ko YH, Magnusson R. Radiation control by defects in dark-state resonant photonic lattices. Opt Lett. 2023 Jun 15; 48(12):3295-3298. doi: 10.1364/OL.493721. PMID: 37319085.
  2. S. Noda, K. Kitamura, T. Okino, D. Yasuda and Y. Tanaka, "Photonic-Crystal Surface-Emitting Lasers: Review and Introduction of Modulated-Photonic Crystals," in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 1-7, Nov.-Dec. 2017, Art no. 4900107, doi: 10.1109/JSTQE.2017.2696883.
  3. Azzam, S. I., Kildishev, A. V., Photonic Bound States in the Continuum: From Basics to Applications. Adv. Optical Mater. 2021, 9, 2001469.
  4. Dominic Bosomtwi, Viktoriia E. Babicheva, Beyond Conventional Sensing: Hybrid Plasmonic Metasurfaces and Bound States in the Continuum, Nanomaterials, 10.3390/nano13071261, 13, 7, (1261), (2023).


KEYWORDS: Bound in continuum; sensor; nanophotonic; leaky wave; resonant; grating

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