UD research team develops new way to make integrated photonics
The signals from a lighthouse to ships at sea is an early example of optical communication, the use of light to transmit information. Today, researchers in the field of integrated photonics are using optical communications principles to build high-tech devices, like lightning-fast computers, which utilize light instead of electricity.
A research team at the University of Delaware fabricated a tiny metalens - a thin lens that can be designed at the nanoscale to focus light in a specific way - on a silicon-based chip programmed with hundreds of tiny air slots, enabling parallel optical signal processing all within the tiny chip.
Photo courtesy Tingyi Gu
At the University of Delaware, a research team led by Tingyi Gu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has designed an integrated photonics platform with a one-dimensional metalens -- a thin lens that can be designed at the nanoscale to focus light in a specific way -- and metasurfaces -- tiny surfaces made with nanostructures to manipulate the transmitted or reflected light-- that limit the loss of information. The team recently described their device in the journal Nature Communications.
"It's a new way to achieve integrated photonics compared to the conventional way," said doctoral student Zi Wang, the first author of the paper.
The team fabricated a tiny metalens on a silicon-based chip programmed with hundreds of tiny air slots, enabling parallel optical signal processing all within the tiny chip.
They demonstrated high signal transmission with less than one decibel loss over a 200-nanometer bandwidth. When they layered three of their metasurfaces together, they demonstrated functionalities of Fourier transformation and differentiation -- important techniques in the physical sciences that break down functions into constituent parts.
"This is the first paper to use low-loss metasurfaces on the integrated photonics platform," said Gu. "Our structure is broadband and low loss, which is critical for energy efficient optical communications."
What's more, the new device developed at UD is much smaller and lighter than conventional devices of its type. It doesn't require the manual alignment of lenses, so it is more robust and scalable compared to the traditional free-space optics platforms, which require tremendous patience and time to set up.
This new device could have applications in imaging, sensing and quantum information processing, such as on-chip transformation optics, mathematical operations and spectrometers. With more development, this technology could also be useful in deep learning and neural network applications in computing.
"It's just much faster than conventional structures," said Gu. "There are still a lot of technical challenges when you try to actively control them, but this is a new platform we are starting with and working on."
Parts of the device were fabricated in the University of Delaware Nanofabrication Facility and at AIM Photonics in Rochester, New York.
While working on this project, Gu was inspired by conversations with fellow faculty members Dennis Prather, Engineering Alumni Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Gonzalo Arce, Charles Black Evans Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Kenneth Barner, Charles Black Evans Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Peter Kerwin | EurekAlert!
Research alliance: TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA ramping up artificial intelligence for industrial use
06.08.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
Novel approach improves graphene-based supercapacitors
03.08.2020 | University of Technology Sydney
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences