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Pentti Karioja, new research professor of photonics solutions, sees a lot of applications for embedded photonics

Pentti Karioja has been nominated as a new research professor in photonic solutions. Karioja has had a long career in industry and at VTT in the field of photonics and integrated optics, including fiber-optic data communication and sensors, integrated optics, wavelength tunable lasers, photonics integration, and mass-producible nanophotonics. Karioja joined VTT in 1985.

Karioja foresees a growing interest in mass-manufacturing technologies and photonics integration. He emphasizes application-oriented R&D based on mass-producible nanophotonic technologies, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency and the environment, safety and security, and life science applications. Pentti Karioja takes an active role in building an entrepreneurial climate at VTT in the commercialization of the nanophotonics and photonics integration research results. He aims to strengthen the link between industry and photonics integration research, to build a full value chain from device level to products. In this way, VTT opens new business opportunities for industry.

“The importance of a full value chain from devices, components, modules and systems to applications is essential when the aim is to create new business opportunities in photonics. VTT has been strong in module integration – both photonic and electronic modules. But our weakness has been device technologies. As a future key technology improvement in photonics integration, I believe in UV nanoimprinting. I see a lot of new opportunities and solutions created by combining nanoimprint technology with other integration technologies,” Pentti Karioja promises VTT customers.

UV nanoimprint technology allows for fast prototyping of micro- and nanophotonic devices. This means that the product development cycle can be accelerated. If proof-of-principle prototypes are fabricated by imprinting, the final devices can still be fabricated by other methods, if polymer UV imprinting materials are not applicable to the product. However, imprinting is possible for the volume manufacture of devices on wafer/sheet level and for high-volume manufacture when roll-to-roll tools are applied. In addition, a UV-based process using polymer materials is considered to be applicable to the low-cost fabrication of micro and nano-scale devices. 

Optical sensors will be embedded as a part of our environment in the near future. Consequently, we will move towards an embedded photonics world. Embedded sensors will be used in various applications, such as monitoring environmental conditions, air quality, or drinking water quality. Scenarios have been presented in which cumulative data collected by embedded sensors carried by ordinary people could provide real-time maps of air quality data in an urban environment. Cloud computing and social networks will be important assets in the application scenarios. Before this is reality, sensors elements and other sensor subsystems need to be miniaturized to operate with ‘no power’. 

More information:

Research Professor Pentti Karioja, tel. +358 20 722 2245