Gas sensors are widely used in industry and agriculture, for instance to ensure safety of personnel and to monitor processes. However, the rising general awareness of the importance of urban indoor and outdoor air quality is now driving demand for accurate, low-cost and mobile gas sensor technology. Even though optical gas sensors offer the highest sensitivity, stability and specificity in the market, their current cost, power consumption and size hinder them from being widely employed by the general public.

In this context, Senseair AB, AMO GmbH, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology Ltd, Graphenea Semiconductor SL, Universität der Bundeswehr München, ICN2, and SCIPROM Sàrl have launched the ULISSES project, a European collaboration to develop a new class of miniaturized optical gas sensors on a chip. The kick off meeting was held last 21 February in Kista (Sweden).

The project partners will collaborate to combine silicon photonics with 2D materials, to enable fully integrated optical gas sensing nodes for the Internet of Things (IoT) that can be manufactured in large volumes at low cost and achieve performance improvements in terms of size and a three-order-of-magnitude reduction in power consumption. The development would enable personal gas sensors embedded in wearable devices, as well as installed in public infrastructure, such as in street lighting or buses. This new approach will provide valuable information to city planners, employers and landlords to ensure a healthy indoor and outdoor environment.

The ICN2 team, led by Dr Aron Cummings and including Dr Aleandro Antidormi and ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche, Group Leader of the Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group, will provide modelling and simulation support to the project. In particular, by utilizing accurate models and simulations of the thermal, optical, and electronic properties of the graphene-based gas sensor, they will provide vital input on the optimization of sensor design and efficiency.

For more information on ULISSES, please visit www.ulisses-project.eu.

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