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!
Scientists create innovative new 'green' concrete using graphene
24.04.2018 | University of Exeter
Neutrons provide insights into increased performance for hybrid perovskite solar cells
24.04.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
24.04.2018 | Information Technology
24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences
24.04.2018 | Life Sciences