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Belgium, 21st January - The European Research Council (ERC) has allocated a budget of around Euro 2.2 million to the InSpectra research project being undertaken by Ghent University and IMEC to create chips equipped with tiny lasers. The chips will measure small concentrations of certain substances in air, water, food, human tissue for various medical and environmental applications.

InSpectra will use silicon-based nano-photonics to carry out laser spectroscopy tasks. One key challenge is that the existing silicon photonic technology must be translated into other wavelengths. The existing technology is designed for the near infrared wavelength band (1500-1600nm) and mainly utilized for telecommunications purposes, but the breadth of substances that can be detected will be broadened greatly if other wavelength bands can be employed.

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