Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Photonics: The smaller the better

05.07.2012
Waveguides that combine metallic and semiconductor structures can be made more compact
Increasing the areal density at which electronic components can be integrated onto a computer chip has always been key to the revolution of technological applications. However, achieving the same feat in the world of optics has been proven difficult as light waves cannot be compressed to sizes below their wavelength by conventional semiconductor-based optical waveguides.

Metallic structures, in theory, are able to provide such functionality through so-called plasmonic effects. In practice, however, the large optical losses have hampered the implementation of such schemes. Combining the benefits of conventional optics with plasmonics, Shiyang Zhu and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics have now demonstrated how structures made of semiconductor and metals represent a more viable approach to effectively miniaturize optical circuits.

Plasmonic effects are based on motions of electrons at the surface of metals that act like an antenna on incoming light. They can be very effective to squeeze light into small volumes, although transport losses when guiding light along such small volumes are much higher than for conventional semiconductor waveguides (linear structures for guiding electromagnetic waves).

Zhu and colleagues observed waveguides based on semiconductor silicon. First, ridges are etched out of silicon chip to form the basis for the waveguide architecture. The surface of the silicon is then oxidized to provide electrical insulation of the silicon before it is covered in a thin copper layer (see image).

This architecture has the benefit of very efficiently squeezing light into the waveguide via the surrounding copper layer, but travels mostly along the core made of silicon and not the metal. Silicon is transparent for light at telecommunications frequencies and thus shows low losses. ”These waveguide structures are not only compatible with the fabrication processes of silicon computer chips,” says Zhu. “More importantly, the use of silicon and silicon oxide and related semiconductors enables further possibilities to potentially achieve other effects, such as light amplification, and control over the plasmon properties.”

Having previously shown that such waveguides are able to guide light efficiently, the researchers have now demonstrated a number of complex photonic structures, including the splitting of light beams at multiple junctions, the propagation of light across multiple kinks and steps, resonator structures that show light interference effects and many more.

“This is only a first step towards the varied and complex effects possible with these structures,” says Zhu. “The next step is to demonstrate some of the active functionality, especially to combine waveguides with ultracompact plasmonic light modulators based on related designs for complete functional nanoplasmonic circuits.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Microelectronics.

References:

Zhu, S., Lo, G. Q. & Kwong, D. L. Components for silicon plasmonic nanocircuits based on horizontal Cu-SiO2-Si-SiO2-Cu nanoplasmonic waveguides. Optics Express 20, 5867–5881 (2012).

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

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Nano-scale process may speed arrival of cheaper hi-tech products
09.11.2018 | University of Edinburgh

nachricht Nuclear fusion: wrestling with burning questions on the control of 'burning plasmas'
25.10.2018 | Lehigh University

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>