Arafin wins NSF Career Award for advancing bio-sensing applications

Posted: April 6, 2022

Behind advancements in healthcare and medical technology, there are engineers working at microscopic levels making sure such ideas become reality.

At The Ohio State University, Assistant Professor Shamsul Arafin, recently won a $500,000 National Science Foundation Early CAREER Research Award to help do his part. Within his role in Ohio State electrical and computer engineering, his goal is to create the first non-telecom photonic integrated circuits (PICs) platform above 2 µm dedicated to advance biomedical sensing applications.

Arafin said traditional telecom and datacom PICs are advanced systems-on-a-chip, enabling transmission of data at high speeds, using optical carriers such as lasers. They operate within extended infrared levels of the electromagnetic spectrum, but have reached their full potential - unlike the sensing PICs targeted through Arafin’s CAREER program

Arafin’s award proposal is, “GaSb-based Photonic Integrated Circuits for Short- and Mid-Wave Infrared Applications.” The technology is the next generation of disruptive engineering critical to meeting size, weight, power, as well as performance goals for many diverse applications, including chemical sensing, industrial process control, and non-invasive medical diagnostics.

According to the research, its impact "will broadly impact the field of photonics by enabling operation in this underdeveloped spectral region.”

Arafin said the five-year project offers a range of potential to shine a light across different disciplines of engineering, such as optics, materials science, electrical engineering, physics, and chemistry.

It is also designed to help reach and teach the next generation of young scientists about nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The wavelength targeted within the electromagnetic spectrum is important, Arafin said, for allowing both gas and liquid molecules to power sensing applications. It’s also safe for the eye and adaptable for LiDAR/remote sensing applications.

In more detail, he said, the overarching goals of this project are to advance intellectual understanding of the low-bandgap antimonide material system for the development and demonstration of a PICs technology platform in the extended short- and mid-wave infrared spectral band, and to expand educational opportunities related to infrared materials science and device technology.

The results could also advance future high-data applications.

“This integrated photonic demonstration will prove feasibility for future, on-chip, low-cost, compact, robust, and energy-efficient photonic subsystems that will enable a wide range of practical applications,” Arafin said. “The highly-integrated optical devices and subsystems will simultaneously improve performance and efficiency, as well as help meet low size, weight, power and cost constraints for next-generation photonic technologies.”



Category: Awards