sCENT: Cryptophane-Enhanced Trace Gas Spectroscopy for On-Chip Methane Detection

ERC Starting Grant project (Jan. 2018- Dec. 2022), European Research Council

This high risk/high gain project has as its principal objective the study of sensitivity enhancement will be achieved by pre-concentrating gas molecules directly on a chip surface using cryptophanes.

Cryptophanes are macromolecular structures that can bind and thus pre-concentrate different small molecules, including methane. Spectroscopic detection of methane when trapped in a cryptophane host is an absolute novelty, and, if successful, it will not only contribute to unprecedented sensitivity enhancement, but will also address fundamental questions about the dynamics of small molecules upon encapsulation.

The actual gas sensing will be realized using evanescent field interaction in photonic crystal waveguides, which exhibit both large evanescent field confinement and long effective interaction pathlengths due to the slow-light effect.