Available technologies, Electrical and Electronic components, Engineering, Information and communications technology (ICT), Optical devices, Telecommunication


More compact dimensions and the possibility of large scale manufacturing to reduce costs

The challenge in integrated systems for optical imaging applications

  • Optical scanning technologies are at the heart of systems for optical spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • these systems are often expensive to manufacture and bulky
  • Two technologies enabled by micro-fabrication can enable lower cost miniaturized integrated systems: microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and integrated optics
  • Integrated optics take advantage of the micro-fabrication processes to produce chip-scale optical devices on large scales and at much lower costs than their discrete counterparts
  • Similarly, MEMS combine mechanical and electrical phenomena to create integrated devices with unique properties that can be produced with a batch process
  • Highly integrated systems can greatly improve the accessibility of advanced technologies because they can be manufactured in high volumes while providing state-of-the-art performance

A novel technique of micro-motor based swept wavelength optical components

  • The inventors have established a novel technology that enables the realisation of integrated optical scanning systems which form the basis of optical systems for optical spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography
  • Design and implementation of two MEMs-based sub-systems: a wavelength scanning device and scanning mirror
  • The technology is based on a rotating MEMS polygon scanner
  • This technology enables large angular scans inside photonic integrated chips at a fast rate which coupled with a dispersive component, such as an echelle grating, can create swept optical filters capable of covering a wide wavelength range
  • Technology developed by Prof. Frédéric Nabki (Department of Electrical Engineering, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)) and Prof. Michael Menard (Department of Computer Engineering, UQAM University)

Competitive advantages    

  • MEMS and integrated optics can enable ultra-compact and low cost OCT systems
  • Large scale production at very low cost (possibly about ten cents per chip)
  • Scan rates of up to 30 kHz, which competes with commercial OCT systems
  • Enabling technology with multiple applications

Market applications

  • Lasers manufacturer for optical imaging applications (eg medical imaging such as optical coherence tomography)
  • Component manufacturer for optical telecommunications networks
  • Optical sensors based on spectroscopy

Business opportunity

  • Technology available for licensing
  • US patent application 16/214,544


If you are interested by this technology, please contact :
Jean-Philippe Valois, Director Business Development, Engineering
jpvalois@aligo.ca, (514) 575-0425


Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM University)

Main inventors


Frédéric Nabki, Professor, Electrical Engineering Departement, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

Prof. Nabki received the B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering with Honors from McGill University in 2003, where he graduated with distinction. In 2009, he completed a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering at McGill University in RFIC and MEMS. From 2008 to 2016 he was a Professor in microelectronics engineering at UQAM. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the École de technologie supérieure (ETS), a constituent of the University of Quebec. Nabki’s research interests include microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and RF/analog microelectronics, the integrating of MEMS devices with CMOS phase-locked loops, ultra-wideband transceivers, and MEMS interface circuits


Michael Minard, Associate Professor, Computer Engineering Departement, UQAM University

Prof. Ménard received the B.Eng. and PhD degree in electrical engineering from McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, in 2002 and 2009, respectively. At McGill, he worked on the design and implementation of novel devices for optical telecommunication applications, including spatial formatting in dense wavelength division multiplexer and broadband high-density electro-optical space switches in III-V waveguides. In June 2011, Prof. Ménard joined the microelectronic program at UQAM as an assistant professor. He is an active member in NanoQAM, an institutional research center on nanomaterials and energy. At the provincial level, he is involved in the Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers (COPL) and the Microsystems Strategic Alliance of Québec (ReSMiQ)