TP-1: Free-space photonic components and systems


Michael Vervaeke – VUB

Member of the TCT, Leader of Technology Platform 1

Technology description

The “Free-space photonic components and systems” technology platform TP1 gathers the necessary modelling, design, fabrication, characterisation, assembly, data analysis and test expertise, to provide top-level support to researchers for the development of innovative free-space photonic components and systems. It supplies solid and extensive experience in and access to advanced design strategies for lens systems, deformable optics, free-form components and diffractive elements, all based on reliable modelling tools. These components can be mastered and prototyped with extremely high optical quality in various glasses and polymer materials for both UV, visible and IR wavelengths.

The fabricated components can be combined with commercial off-the-shelf optics (light sources, filters, lenses, mirrors, image sensors and modulators) to create advanced demonstrators and system prototypes. TP1 also allows assembling (micro-) optical systems based on advanced tolerance analysis and all-scale prototyping. It possesses integration capacities (including opto-mechanics and electronics expertise) to support researchers in building fully working demonstrators.

Application domains

Many practical examples of free-space photonic systems comprise both an illumination part and an imaging part:

  • microscopes,
  • projectors,
  • machine vision equipment.

Other applications consist only of an illumination system:

  • lighting modules,
  • laser processing equipment,
  • display backlights

or an imaging system:

  • cameras,
  • binoculars.

The domain of free-space photonic components and systems hence covers large parts of important photonics research domains: lighting, displays, laser processing, imaging and lithography. There is also a huge potential for non-photonics research domains that can be enabled by dedicated free-space photonic components and systems.

Examples include research in conceptual breakthroughs in:

  • medical diagnostics and instrumentation,
  • in advanced 3D material processing,
  • in Internet of Things applications,
  • in automotive,
  • in the monitoring of smart structures and materials,
  • in aviation/space,
  • in smart agriculture,
  • and in multimedia, in which optics and photonic solutions are the driver for research.

Partners involved in this Technology Platform