IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 16

R&D

milestones: performing functional
field testing.
ISM: Could you explain
the technology involved
in these sensors?
WG: Well, going back to
that point about the current
technology being very expensive, a technique can be used to
detect methane and other types
of molecules in the air. It's called
"optical spectroscopy" and
allows you to detect a spectral
"fingerprint" that's unique to
each different type of molecule.
You use a tunable laser, scan
the laser wavelength over a
small range and pass that beam
through a path where it can interact with the trace gas you are
trying to detect while photodetecting the light at the end of the
path. The fingerprint shows up in
the detected signal, and you can
use that to estimate the concentration of the gas, for example,
methane, within the optical path
sampled. Commercial sensors
that operate on this principal are
available, but cost at least tens of
thousands of dollars per unit.
At IBM Research, we're developing a gas-sensing platform that
uses a wafer-scale, or integrated
optics technology called "silicon
photonics." We've been developing
and using silicon photonics at IBM
for over 15 years, with the primary
focus to date being on high-speed
optical interconnects for systems
and data centers. Based on continuing research in this field, we
felt motivated to get into the new
area of sensors and began working
on photonic chips for methane
detection a few years ago.
We've now used our expertise and background in silicon
photonics to build a device for a
very different application than
what we've been historically
doing. The photonic chip sensor
we've designed uses a long

optical waveguide so we're not projecting the
tunable laser beam out into the air. It's confined
to the silicon photonic chip, but part of the
light actually sticks out into the air around the
waveguide. That's where the sensing takes place.
The photodetectors and laser source reside on a
separate small III-V chip, which is assembled onto
the silicon photonic sensor chip using advanced
photonics packaging techniques that we've also
developed. Altogether, this unique methane
sensor is a standalone chip that's approximately
5-by-5 millimeters or smaller in size, which
includes the light source, photodetectors and the
sensing mechanism. We're targeting a price somewhere in the ballpark of a few hundred dollars
for this sensor in volume production, including
packaging, electronics, assembly and, of course,
the semiconductor die themselves.
ISM: Aside from the sensor hardware itself,
are there any analytics or machine learning
involved in this?
WG: Yes. The idea is that as we collect data from a
given site, machine learning models can be applied
to enhance the speed of the prediction and capture
the leaks as they occur. That can, for example, occur
through refinement and improved modeling of local
wind conditions. Natural gas leaks, or "plumes" will
disperse and be carried along by the local winds.
As we get more wind data at a specific well pad, we
can have access to on-site historical trends rather
than prevailing wind data that's available publicly

55
in

IBM 5 in 5

1. Methane sensors
2. Cognitive systems using words and
speech patterns to assess mental health
3. Macroscopes to understand
Earth's complexity
4. Hyper imaging and AI
5. Medical lab technology on the nanoscale
Read about the innovations:
research.ibm.com/5-in-5

16 // SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 ibmsystemsmag.com

but on very low-resolution satellite
imaging. That's one way that
learning can occur. Then a variety
of physical models can actually
be applied to extract information
about where leaks occur and how
the methane is distributed in space
over time. Those varieties of models, including full computational
fluid dynamics, can be implemented and combined in a way to
blend each prediction with specific
proportions and weights that are
learned through a cognitive-type
algorithm.
ISM: I understand cattle are
big producers of methane.
Is any work being done to
address that?
WG: That's another big topic
because they create roughly 30
percent of the overall methane
emissions that get into the air.
There may be less that we can do
about that in terms of mitigation.
However, the technology we're
developing for the oil and gas
industry could certainly be adapted
to monitoring methane levels
within an agricultural setting.
ISM: Are there any other
applications for this type
of technology?
WG: Methane is the main application today, but this platform
can be extended to other types
of molecules and trace gases,
some of which can be related to
environmental pollution. They
can also be related to healthcare,
such as breath analysis where
you can perform noninvasive
measurements of various internal
conditions. If you have a platform
that has significant sensitivity, you
can find molecules that correlate
to conditions that might otherwise need exploratory biopsies
to diagnose. The silicon photonic
trace gas-sensing platform itself is
multipurpose. It can be used for a
wide variety of applications.


http://research.ibm.com/5-in-5 http://research.ibm.com/5-in-5 http://www.ibmsystemsmag.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017

Table of Contents
Editor's Desk: Trusting the System
Partner PoV: A Reliable Advantage: Use z/OS resources and tools for data protection
Currents: Simplifying Offerings: The direction is to streamline product installation on the z/OS platform
R&D: Unintended Emissions: IBM uses low-cost sensors to help address climate change issues
Trends: Dedicated Support Staff: IBM Technology Support Services offers protection for business resiliency and continuity
Special Report: Security, Cost and Talent: Magazine Reader Survey reveals top concerns among mainframe users
Cover Story: Trusting the System: The new IBM z14 emphasizes security, insights and a connected ecosystem
Feature: Paradigm Shift to Encryption: Pervasive encryption is the no-compromise approach to data protection on IBM z14
Administrator: A Step Up: Java with z14 features hardware facilities for secure, high-performance transaction processing
Solutions: MegaCryption V6.4.2 for z/OS, Advanced Software Products Group Inc.; SCRTPro, Watson & Walker
Stop Run: Attuned to Business: Rocket president encourages employee coloaboration with house band
Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Mainframe
2017 Mainframe Solutions Edition
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Intro
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Cover1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Cover2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Table of Contents
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 5
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Editor's Desk: Trusting the System
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 7
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Partner PoV: A Reliable Advantage: Use z/OS resources and tools for data protection
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 9
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Currents: Simplifying Offerings: The direction is to streamline product installation on the z/OS platform
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - CT1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - CT2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 11
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 12
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 13
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - R&D: Unintended Emissions: IBM uses low-cost sensors to help address climate change issues
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 15
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 16
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 17
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Trends: Dedicated Support Staff: IBM Technology Support Services offers protection for business resiliency and continuity
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 19
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 20
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Special Report: Security, Cost and Talent: Magazine Reader Survey reveals top concerns among mainframe users
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR5
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR6
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR7
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR8
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR9
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR10
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR11
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR12
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR13
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR14
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR15
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SR16
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 37
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Cover Story: Trusting the System: The new IBM z14 emphasizes security, insights and a connected ecosystem
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 39
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 40
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 41
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 42
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 43
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Feature: Paradigm Shift to Encryption: Pervasive encryption is the no-compromise approach to data protection on IBM z14
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 45
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 46
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 47
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 48
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 49
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 50
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Administrator: A Step Up: Java with z14 features hardware facilities for secure, high-performance transaction processing
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 52
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 53
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 54
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Solutions: MegaCryption V6.4.2 for z/OS, Advanced Software Products Group Inc.; SCRTPro, Watson & Walker
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Stop Run: Attuned to Business: Rocket president encourages employee coloaboration with house band
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Cover3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Cover4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Mainframe
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - 2017 Mainframe Solutions Edition
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SE2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - September/October 2017 - SE3
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