Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanofabrication tools may make silicon optical chips more accessible

03.03.2011
In an effort to make it easier to build inexpensive, next-generation silicon-based electro-optical chips, which allow computers to move information with light and electricity, a University of Washington photonics professor, Dr. Michael Hochberg and his research team are developing design tools and using commercial nanofabrication tools.

Silicon optical chips are critical to the Air Force because of their size, weight, power, rapid cycle time, program risk reduction and the improvements they can offer in data communications, lasers and detectors.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research is funding this effort in silicon photonics called "Optoelectronic Systems Integration in Silicon" at UW's Nanophotonics Lab in Seattle. OpSIS is hosted by UW's Institute for Photonic Integration. Hochberg is in charge of the OpSIS research program, the Nanophotonics Lab and the Institute for Photonic Integration.

Hochberg emphasizes that the funding from the Air Force Research Laboratory and AFOSR is a critical component in getting the effort off the ground because it provides both a strong technical validation, and the resources to get started on the project.

Unlike most research groups that are designing, building and testing silicon photonic devices or optical chips in-house rather than by using commercial chip fabrication facilities, the UW researchers are using shared infrastructure at the foundry at BAE Systems in Manassas, Virginia. There they are working toward creating high-end, on-shore manufacturing capabilities that will be ultimately made available to the wider community. In the past few years, complex photonic circuitry has not been accessible to researchers because of the expense and a lack of standard processes.

The UW researchers are working on system design and validation so they can imitate what's been done in electronics by stabilizing and characterizing some processes so that the transition from photonics to systems can be smooth.

"The OpSIS program will help advance the field of silicon photonics by bringing prototyping capability within reach of startup companies and researchers," said Hochberg. "They will provide design rules, device design support and design-flow development so that even non-experts will be able to design and integrate photonics and electronics."

Silicon photonics has developed over the last decade, and the transition from using devices to systems is something that has only recently occurred.

"The digital electronics revolution over the past 40 years has had a transformative effect on how the Air Force systems are built, and we're hoping to have a similar impact on photonic systems," he said.

The researchers' current goal is to work first on test runs for the new optical chips for commercial uses and on developing some software tools that will make the design process easier.

AFOSR program manager, Dr. Gernot S. Pomrenke, agrees with Prof. Hochberg. "Integrating silicon photonics will impact Air Force, DoD and commercial avionics," he said. "AFRL has been a leader in developing and supporting this technology over the last two decades and the OpSIS program will help in transitioning silicon photonics into new system capabilities."

ABOUT AFOSR:

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research, located in Arlington, Virginia, continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force's basic research program. As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFOSR's mission is to discover, shape, and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force.

Maria Callier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.afosr.af.mil

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top
20.04.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht New record on squeezing light to one atom: Atomic Lego guides light below one nanometer
20.04.2018 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>