Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Photonics: On track for downsizing

01.02.2013
The ability to miniaturize photonics devices to sizes compatible with computer chips inches closer
Optical communications, or photonics, technology has failed to match the miniaturization of electronic components, mainly because of fundamental laws of classical optics. The smallest photonic devices are limited to sizes of at least a micrometer. Researchers from the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME) in Singapore have now realized a device design that beats such size restrictions and can be easily integrated into a silicon chip1.

Using so-called ‘plasmonic techniques’, the researchers, led by Shiyang Zhu at the IME, demonstrated optical resonator structures, which allow a beam of light to circulate in a closed path, that can be used as on-off switches for light. The device is based on plasmonic effects that guide the light along the surface of the metal. “The performance of our devices is comparable to the best reported results for related plasmonic resonators,” says Zhu.

Conventional optical instruments, such as lenses, modify light as it passes through them. Plasmonic structures, however, act more like antennae that amplify light as it moves along their surface. Plasmonic features are typically created using metals such as gold or silver. However, integrating these noble metals with silicon chips is not only expensive, but also requires techniques that are incompatible with established silicon processing techniques.

As a workaround, Zhu and co-workers used copper to generate the desired plasmonic effects. Copper is widely used as electronic wires in silicon computer chips, and it has an established track record in the computer industry. The researchers built their plasmonic resonator devices from two copper structures that guide light along them - a long wire adjacent to a circle. The smallest width of the copper circuit is only about 180 nanometers, which is much smaller than conventional light guides.

The closeness of the wire and the circle is critical for efficient device operation. When light of a specific wavelength, which is determined by the dimensions of the circle, passes through the wire, some of it can leak into the circle where it becomes trapped. Light can only pass through the structure if it does not match the resonance wavelength of the circle.

The wavelength at which this resonance occurs is very sensitive to parameters such as temperature. In the future, this sensitivity in the circuits could be harnessed for use as switches that control how light passes through the wire, says Zhu. “The next step is to design and demonstrate active plasmonic devices, such as thermo-optic switchers and high-speed electro-optic modulators.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Microelectronics
Associated links
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6620
Journal information
Zhu, S., Lo, G. Q. & Kwong, D. L. Performance of ultracompact copper-capped silicon hybrid plasmonic waveguide-ring resonators at telecom wavelengths. Optics Express 20, 15232–15246 (2012)

A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6620
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Ultra-Thin Silicon Films Create Vibrant Optical Colors
25.03.2015 | University of Alabama Huntsville

nachricht Roadmap for SRC wood energy in Europe
25.03.2015 | ttz Bremerhaven

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Surface-modified nanoparticles endow coatings with combined properties

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Novel sensor system provides continuous smart monitoring of machinery and plant equipment

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Common bacteria on verge of becoming antibiotic-resistant superbugs

26.03.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>