About the Innovator

The innovators are young professors affiliated to the Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium. The core business of B-PHOT's ream is to investigate and develop light technology and its applications in, amongst others, life sciences, sensing and telecommunications. They have introduced a novel approach for converting one wavelength of light into another on a photonic chip.

What is the innovation

A new technique for establishing wavelength conversion in on-chip photonic integrated circuits has been developed. Such on-chip functionality could be highly beneficial for, amongst others, telecommunication and medical diagnostics, provided that the devices can be mass-manufactured. This new approach called ‘automatic quasi-phase-matching’ enables efficient wavelength conversion in photonic integrated circuits that comply with the rules for mass-manufacturing in large-scale photonic foundries. After having elaborated on the underlying theory, this technique was experimentally demonstrated with chips fabricated by such foundries. This work was done in the context of the EU-funded GRAPHENICS project (funded by the FP7, Future & Emerging Technologies, Young Explorers programme).

group photo of research team

Out of the lab – Into the Market

To capitalise on their ‘automatic quasi-phase-matching’ technique, several patent applications have been filed covering different implementations of their innovation. Recently two patents were officially granted. Their main exploitation strategy consists of licensing their patent portfolio to European companies that develop chip-scale medical or telecommunication applications with fabrication through photonic chip foundries.

Benefits of participation in the Framework Programme

Thanks to the GRAPHENICS project, we have been able to extend VUB – B-PHOT’s expertise on photonics towards a wider set of key-enabling technologies, namely advanced materials, nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing. Furthermore, since GRAPHENICS is a ‘Young Explorers’ project with all work being led by young researchers, it contributes to our researchers’ independence and as such to the EC’s broader goal of empowering the next generation of European science and technology leaders.