Engineering Physics

Yves-Alain Peter

Microsystems ● Optics ● Electronics ● Technology

Yves-Alain Peter is a professor in the Department of Engineering Physics.

He has been at Polytechnique Montréal since 2004, and heads the Microphotonics Laboratory.

The main goal of his research is to develop tunable micro- and nanoscale optics systems such as microphotonic cell sensors.

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Professor Peter designs optical microelectromechanical systems (OMEMS) on silicon chips using manufacturing techniques similar to those for electronic circuits. Optical microsystems have applications is projection systems, telecommunications, biomedical imaging, and telescopy. The laboratory specializes in development of new classes of optical microcavities that are extremely sensitive to their environment, which is an asset to improving design of sensors and other optical devices.

These optical resonators have enabled improvements to flow cytometry for analysis of cells in hospital and university settings. Among other achievements, Professor Peter has created a prototype lab-on-a-chip sensor that allow simultaneous acquisition of a cell’s shape, contents and cycle, reducing the need for complementary investigations by microscopy.

More than a sensor: an electronic nose

Professor Peter has developed an optical-sensor matrix on a chip that can detect, or “smell,” various types of gases. The matrix consists of different sensors, each of which contains a specific polymer that reacts differently to whatever compound is present. This has sparked interest from several industry partners (e.g., in medicine, security, and oil production). In collaboration with Univalor, Professor Peter is facilitating the transfer to industry of the technologies developed in his lab.

Optical cavity
(c) Laboratoire d'Yves-Alain Peter

Light up the biochip
(c) Laboratoire d'Yves-Alain Peter - Antoine Leblanc-Hott

Tiny spheres on the ends of optical fibres
(c) Laboratoire d'Yves-Alain Peter - Vanier & Maisonneuve