Researchers have developed the first fully-integrated, non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) gas sensor enabled by specially engineered synthetic materials known as metamaterials. The sensor has no moving parts, requires little energy to operate and is among the smallest NDIR sensors ever created. The sensor is ideal for new Internet of Things and smart home devices designed to detect and respond to changes in the environment. It also could find use in future medical diagnostics and monitoring equipment.
A paper explaining these results will be presented at the Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FIO + LS) conference, held 15–19 September in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
“Our sensor design unites simplicity, robustness, and efficiency. Using metamaterials, we can omit one of the main cost drivers in NDIR gas sensors, the dielectric filter, and simultaneously reduce the size and energy consumption of the device,” said Alexander Lochbaum from the Institute of Electromagnetic Fields of ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and lead author on the paper. “This makes the sensors viable for high-volume, low-cost markets such as automotive and consumer electronics.”