Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Optoelectronics: Tapering off for efficiency


A new compact structure enables efficient lasers to be realized on silicon chips

A compact ‘on-silicon-chip’ laser has been developed by researchers at Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore that boasts both excellent confinement of light for lasing and the ability to efficiently share the laser light with nearby components.

A new design for a compact on-chip laser showing the two tapered ends that allow light to be efficiently coupled with structures on the chip. © 2015 A*STAR Data Storage Institute

Compact lasers small enough to be integrated on chips are in great demand for a diverse range of applications, including data communication and storage. Lasers made from a combination of silicon and semiconductors containing elements from the third and fifth columns in the periodic table (dubbed III–V silicon lasers) are particularly attractive as on-chip light sources.

To be used in applications, such lasers must tightly confine light to maximize the lasing efficiency and should effectively share, or ‘couple’, light with optical waveguides — the optical equivalent of electrical wiring — located under the laser.

Jing Pu and co-workers at the A*STAR Data Storage Institute have demonstrated a III–V silicon laser that meets both criteria. Their structure realizes efficient lasing through the smart control of light — light is tightly confined to the III–V semiconductor layer in which lasing occurs. Furthermore, both laser ends are tapered to facilitate the coupling of light with underlying silicon waveguides.

“Our laser exhibits a high efficiency as well as efficient light coupling between the III–V semiconductor and silicon layers, which is the thinnest reported to date,” says Pu.

The new structure is promising as an on-chip light source for current silicon photonics technology but also as a potential new integration platform. It improves on conventional fabrication procedures, in which components are made separately and then combined, and enables fully integrated optoelectronic systems to be fabricated that take up less space on a chip.

“This new technology could replace the current approach of integrating a laser diode to an optical system through assembling and then bonding of components,” explains Pu. “The laser diodes can be fabricated exactly where they are needed, which will cut the manufacturing cost and reduce the size and weight of light sources by a factor of hundreds.”

These advantages are very attractive for many applications, including next-generation high-density magnetic data storage, where laser diodes need to be integrated on writing heads that are smaller than 0.1 square millimeters.

The team plans to improve the manufacturing process and device performance so that the technology can advance from prototype to manufacture for industrial applications. “We also aim to reduce the laser size and power consumption for use as vital components for high-performance computing,” Pu adds.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Data Storage Institute. More information about the group’s research can be found at the Nanotechnology Integration Group webpage.


Pu, J., Lim, K. P., Ng, D. K. T., Krishnamurthy, V., Lee, C. W., Tang, K. et al. Heterogeneously integrated III-V laser on thin SOI with compact optical vertical interconnect access. Optics Letters 40, 1378–1381 (2015).

Associated links
Original article from A*STAR Research

A*STAR Research | ResearchSea
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>