Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crystalline materials enable high-speed electronic function in optical fibers

06.02.2012
Scientists at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with Penn State University have, for the first time, embedded the high level of performance normally associated with chip-based semiconductors into an optical fibre, creating high-speed optoelectronic function.

The potential applications of such optical fibres include improved telecommunications and other hybrid optical/electronic technologies. This transatlantic team will publish its findings in the journal Nature Photonics this month.

The team has taken a novel approach to the problems traditionally associated with embedding this technology. Rather than merge a flat chip with a round optical fibre, they found a way to build a new kind of optical fibre with its own integrated electronic component, thereby bypassing the need to integrate fibre-optics onto a chip. To do this, they used high-pressure chemistry techniques to deposit semiconducting materials layer by layer directly into tiny holes in optical fibres.

Dr Pier Sazio, Senior Research Fellow in the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), says: "The big breakthrough here is that we don't need the whole chip as part of the finished product. We have managed to build the junction - the active boundary where all the electronic action takes place - right into the fibre. Moreover, while conventional chip fabrication requires multimillion dollar clean room facilities, our process can be performed with simple equipment that costs much less."

John Badding, Professor of Chemistry at Penn State, explains: "The integration of optical fibres and chips is difficult for many reasons. First, fibres are round and cylindrical, while chips are flat, so simply shaping the connection between the two is a challenge. Another challenge is the alignment of pieces that are so small. An optical fibre is 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair. On top of that, there are light-guiding pathways that are built onto chips that are even smaller than the fibres by as much as 100 times, so imagine just trying to line those two devices up. That feat is a big challenge for today's technology."

Dr Anna Peacock, from the ORC who holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship, adds: "The incorporation of optoelectronic device functionality inside the optical fibre geometry is an important technological advance for future communication networks. In this sense, we can start to imagine a scenario where the data signal never has to leave the fibre for faster, cheaper, more efficient systems."

The research also has many potential non-telecommunications applications. It represents a very different approach to fabricating semiconductor junctions that the team is investigating.

ORC Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr Noel Healy concludes: "This demonstration of complex in-fibre optoelectronic engineering is exciting, as it has the potential to be a key enabling technology in the drive for faster, lower cost, and more energy efficient communication networks."

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Glenn Harris | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors
22.01.2018 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Let the good tubes roll
19.01.2018 | DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>