Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Optomechanics: Swift light switching at the microscale

13.09.2012
Faster signal storage and optical processing in nanomachined devices edge closer to realization

A system that has only two possible stable states, such as a light switch, is called bistable by scientists and engineers. Bistability in microscale devices could pave the way to compact optical switching and memory elements.

In the bistable systems found so far, however, switching between states takes too long to make the approach practical. Now, thanks to the recent observation of bistability in an array of micrometer-sized rings, fast microscale optical switches in novel photonic devices are a step closer to development.

Yefeng Yu of the A*STAR Data Storage Institute and his co-workers in Singapore and France observed this bistability in a device consisting of two 60-micrometer-wide silicon rings into which they could feed laser light of wavelengths specific to the particular ring geometry they used1. One segment of each ring hung above a gap, and these free-hanging arcs deformed slightly as light flowed through the ring. The deformation of the rings, in turn, changed their optical properties. As a result of this interplay between optical and mechanical forces, the researchers observed stable behavior at two wavelengths of the light; not at one, as expected. By changing the wavelength of the incoming light, Yu and co-workers could conveniently switch between these two states.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that optical bistability has been induced by optical forces acting on mechanical motion,” explains Yu. “Similar phenomena are usually produced by thermal effects.” Relying on heating mechanisms, however, means that the typical times required to switch between the two stable states are relatively long, on the order of milliseconds. Using optical effects gave Yu and his co-workers a much faster means to control the switching process. “The switching time in our system is currently at the microsecond level,” says Yu. “But there is some space for reducing this time through design optimization.”

This thousand-fold acceleration should assist practical applications. The two stable states of the system, for example, can be used to encode information in terms of ‘zeros’ and ‘ones’, as it is in digital computers. But instead of using electrons to process information, the two states of Yu and his co-workers’ optomechanical device should allow the representation of information.

“We envisage using our new system to implement optical logic gates for data processing,” Yu says. But there may be many more possible uses for these devices. “Applications we want to explore include tunable lasers, biosensor and optomechanical memories.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Data Storage Institute

Journal information

Yu, Y. F., Zhang, J. B., Bourouina, T. & Liu A. Q. Optical-force-induced bistability in nanomachined ring resonator systems. Applied Physics Letters 100, 093108 (2012)

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

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

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

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>