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Enabling 'Internet of Photonic Things' With Miniature Sensors

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The mainboard of the wireless WGM sensing system.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis used a wireless photonic sensor resonator with a whispering-gallery-mode architecture to record environmental data.

Credit: Nature

Washington University in St. Louis researchers have for the first time recorded environmental data using a wireless photonic sensor resonator with a whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) architecture.

The photonic sensors recorded data under two scenarios, including a real-time measurement of air temperature over 12 hours, and an aerial mapping of temperature distribution using a sensor on a drone. Both measurements also included a commercial thermometer with a Bluetooth connection for comparison purposes.

The sensors belong to a category called WGM resonators because they function like the whispering gallery in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where a person on one side of the dome can hear a message spoken to the wall by someone on the other side.

In addition, the sensor resonates at a light frequency and also at vibrational or mechanical frequencies.

Washington University in St. Louis researcher Lan Yang says, "The successful demonstrations show the potential applications of our wireless WGM sensor in the IoT," which include magnetic, acoustic, environmental, and medical sensing, she says.

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