Broadband and Ultrahigh Resolution Spectrometer Based on a Multimode Waveguide

Technology #16610

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Figure 1: Comparison of various compact and bench-top spectrometers.Figure 2: Using MMI in a tapered fibre for optical spectroscopy.Figure 3: Spectroscopy scheme.Figure 4: Performance of the TFMMI spectrometer.
Professor Dirk Englund
Quantum Photonics Laboratory, MIT
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Edward Chen
Quantum Photonics Laboratory, MIT
Tim Schroder
Quantum Photonics Laboratory, MIT
Fan Meng
Quantum Photonics Laboratory, MIT
Noel Wan
Quantum Photonics Laboratory, MIT
Ren-Jye Shiue
Quantum Photonics Laboratory, MIT
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Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Methods and apparatus for spectrometry

US Patent Pending US 2015-0168217
High-resolution optical spectroscopy using multimode interference in a compact tapered fibre
Nature Communications , 23 July 2015


This invention is used in analytical chemistry, biochemical sensing, material analysis, optical communication, and medical applications

Problem Addressed

Developing miniature spectrometers require sacrificing the high spectral resolution and broad operating range possible in large grating spectrometers. Therefore, there is a need to develop compact spectrometers with high resolution and broad operating range.


The invention is a monolithic, compact spectrometer based on multimode interference (MMI) and can simultaneously achieve high resolving power and bandwidth in a simple-to-couple and compact device. It matches the performance of large grating spectrometers using modal interference in a multimode waveguide with an area of a few square millimeters or less. These kinds of MMI spectrometers could be used in applications requiring broadband operation and high-resolution spectroscopic analysis.


  • Wider operating range than other millimeter scale spectrometers
  • It offers both high resolving power and fractional bandwidth within a compact device
  • Comparative performance with large grating spectrometers