Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plasmonics: Model makes light work of nanocircuits

14.03.2013
A numerical simulation predicts the behavior of a component that controls light for faster computing
As computer manufacturers cram ever more processing power onto tiny chips, they face a growing problem. The connections between electronic components that measure just a few billionths of a meter across allow electrons to leak, which reduces the quality of the signal they carry, wastes energy and causes devices to overheat.

One promising solution is to replace those electrons with photons of light. Hong-Son Chu and Er-Ping Li of the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore and co-workers have now developed a numerical model to simulate the performance of circuits that rely on light, which could be an invaluable tool for designers in the burgeoning field of nanophotonics.

Devices that manipulate photons of light are typically many times larger than conventional circuit components, and this limits their use. In contrast, “plasmonic technology promises to overcome the size mismatch between microscale photonics and nanoscale electronics,” says Li.

When light hits the interface between a metal and a dielectric insulator, it creates ripples in the density of the electric charge. These ripples, known as plasmons, are bound to the electromagnetic field of the incoming light, and travel along the interface. The plasmons have a shorter wavelength than the light, so the components that guide and manipulate them can be smaller than those used to control light directly. “This emergent technology is a potential platform for the next generation of optical interconnects that enables the deployment of small-footprint and low-energy integrated circuitry,” says Chu.

Microelectronics researchers have previously relied on time-consuming and expensive computer simulations to fine-tune the designs of their plasmonic nanocircuits. Li’s team has developed a much simpler model that includes a library of different plasmonic components such as waveguides, modulators and photodetectors, and can integrate their properties to predict how the whole system will behave.

Li and his co-workers used their model to quickly design and improve a compact Mach–Zehnder plasmonic modulator, a commonly used component that enables an electrical signal to control a beam of light. The device relies on an electro-optic material whose refractive index changes when a voltage is applied.

The simulation showed how the size and shape of the device could be optimized to lower its operating voltage, as well as increasing the difference between its two switching states to reduce signal noise.

The researchers now plan to improve their design software so that it includes many more properties of nanocircuits, “including mechanical, thermal, optical and electrical characteristics,” says Chu.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of High Performance Computing

Journal information

Chu, H.-S., Kurniawan, O., Zhang, W.-Z., Li, D. & Li, E.-P. Integrated system-level electronic design automation (EDA) for designing plasmonic nanocircuits. IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology 11, 731–738 (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: 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 >>>