Ultralow SwaP Photonic Integrated Spectrometer


On-chip spectrometers pose many advantages over other types of state-of-the-art spectrometers, which typically consist of large and bulky free space optical components. Small chips significantly reduce size, weight, and power (SWaP) and contain no moving parts, may include radiation-hardened materials, are much easier to shield from radiation than large instruments, and require less power to maintain a constant temperature. These benefits are especially crucial in space-based instruments, which must stay aligned and whose performance must not degrade after the rough, high vibration environment experienced during a launch. Current state-of-the-art demonstrations of on-chip spectrometers have shown high resolving power of ~104 but over only a bandwidth of a few tens of nanometers.

Technology Overview

This invention consists of a novel ultralow SWaP (from ~1,000 cm3 and ~5kg to ~100mm3 and a few grams) photonic integrated spectrometer with a broad spectral range and small number of detectors by using compressed sensing. The spectrometer has 32 spatial channels and 512 spectral channels with a resolution of 0.1nm. This spectrometer, with monolithically and heterogeneously integrated photodetectors, is fully CMOS compatible, thereby enabling synergy with the CMOS manufacturing infrastructure and integration with CMOS electronics.


This technology offers wide potential for future use in space missions and offers cross-cutting opportunities for national defense or biomedical applications where a miniaturized spectrometer may be key to further development.


  • Industrial process monitoring
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental testing
  • Food & beverages testing
  • Industrial chemistry
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Space sensing
  • Harsh environment sensing
  • Limited power applications
URV Reference Number: 2-21002
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Curtis Broadbent
Licensing Manager
University of Rochester
Jaime Cardenas Gonzalez
Xiaotong He