PHOSFOS: Photonic Skins For Optical Sensing - It all starts with the fibre

Area of relevance: 
Information and Communication
1 April 2008 - 31 March 2011
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Funded by: 
European Commission, EU


PHOSFOS develops a flexible and stretchable foil that integrates optical sensing elements. Photonic skins find applications in continuously monitoring the integrity and the behaviour of different kinds of civil engineering structures and energy production facilities. PHOSFOS thus contributes to safety of the public and personnel. The highly flexible skins will also serve long term monitoring of respiration and cardiac activity. PHOSFOS will therefore also contribute to better healthcare. The sensing elements rely on highly birefringent micro-structured optical fibres and on polymer optical fibres, both with fibre Bragg gratings. The silica fibres exhibit almost zero temperature sensitivity to cope with the traditional temperature cross-sensitivity issues of conventional fibre sensors. Polymer fibres are used for their very specific property that their length can be stretched up to 300% before breaking. Two SMEs participate in PHOSFOS. The first SME, active in the field of structural health monitoring, forecasts a commercial revenue of 125 k€ after five years. The second SME, active in healthcare, forecasts total income to rise to 2.1 M€ after 9 years. PHOSFOS tackles essential issues such as packaging and fully-fledged system integration to support wide deployment of optical fibre sensor technologies. Together with the expected revenues, this will strengthen the competitiveness of European industry in this field and ensure job creation in the involved SMEs.