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 Researchers take next step toward fusion energy
16.11.2017 | Texas A&M University

nachricht Desert solar to fuel centuries of air travel
16.11.2017 | SolarPACES

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>