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Laser-Written Vapor-Cells

Integrated Photon DevicesLaserLaserMicromachiningSpectroscopyVapor-Cells


Vapor cells contain atoms or molecules which, when irradiated by a laser, offer various possibilities: from atomic spectroscopy applications to magnetic field sensors for detecting, for example, neuronal currents. The invention proposes a new method for manufacturing such cells and a way to integrate them with other photonic devices that use them in order to create fully operational, integrated, portable and scalable microsensors.

Technical features

The invention includes a vapor cell and its manufacturing method, as well as an integrated device and an apparatus of which the cell is part. The innovative aspect lies in the method by which the cell is made. This is a two-step process: first the designated sample is subjected to femtosecond laser irradiation, then an acid bath is used to remove the irradiated parts. Finally, once the cell has been manufactured, it is filled with atomic vapors. This process has the significant advantage, compared to existing techniques, of obtaining a cell with three-dimensional geometry and the possibility that this is buried at an arbitrary depth (with micrometric precision) within the substrate in which it is manufactured. This allows greater control over the physical properties of the cell, its miniaturization and easier integration with other photonic structures and / or optical components, which can also be manufactured on a chip, using the same technique.

Possible Applications

  • Atomic/molecular spectroscopy for frequency stabilisation of laser sources;
  • Miniaturised atomic clocks: for ex., space/GPS technology;
  • High resolution magnetic field measurement for medical (MEG), geophysical or archeological applications;
  • Atomic gyroscopes for automotive and for air/naval/space navigation.


  • Three-dimensional geometry;
  • Positioning at arbitrary depth;
  • Micrometric precision.
  • Miniaturisation / customisation / integration with other optical components;
  • More versatile and faster prototyping and manufacturing.