Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The world's fastest nanoscale photonics switch

28.10.2015

Russian scientists developed the world's fastest nanoscale photonics switch

International team of researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Australian National University in Canberra created an ultrafast all-optical switch on silicon nanostructures.


"Device" is a disc 250 nm in diameter that is capable of switching optical pulses at femtosecond rates (femtosecond is a one millionth of one billionth of a second).

Credit: Maxim Scherbakov et al

This device may become a platform for future computers and permit to transfer data at an ultrahigh speed. The article with the description of the device was published in Nano Letters journal and highlighted in Nature Materials.

This work belongs to the field of photonics - an optics discipline which appeared in the 1960-s, simultaneously with the invention of lasers. Photonics has the same goals as electronics does, but uses photons--the quanta of light--instead of electrons. The biggest advantage of using photons is the absence of interactions between them.

As a consequence, photons address the data transmission problem better than electrons. This property can primarily be used for in computing where IPS (instructions per second) is the main attribute to be maximized. The typical scale of eletronic transistors--the basis of contemporary electronic devices--is less than 100 nanometers, wheres the typical scale of photonic transistors stays on the scale of several micrometers.

Nanostructures that are able to compete with the electronic structures--for example, plasmonic nanoparticles--are characterized by low efficiency and significant losses. Therefore, coming up with a compact photonic switch was a very challenging task.

Three years ago several groups of researchers simultaneously discovered an important effect: they found out that silicon nanoparticles are exhibit strong resonances in the visible spectrum - the so-called magnetic dipole resonances.

This type of resonance is characterized by strong localization of light waves on subwavelength scales, inside the nanoparticles. This effect turned out to be interesting to researches, but, according to Maxim Shcherbakov, the first author of the article published in Nano Letters, nobody thought that this discovery could create a basis for development of a compact and very rapid photonic switch.

Nanoparticles were fabricated in the Australian National University by e-beam lithography followed by plasma-phase etching. It was done by Alexander Shorokhov, who served an internship in the University as a part of Presidential scholarship for studying abroad. The samples were brought to Moscow, and all the experimental work was carried out at the Faculty of Physics of Lomonosov Moscow State University, in the Laboratory of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials.

"In our experimental research me and my colleague Polina Vabishchevich from the Faculty used a set of nonlinear optics methods that address femtosecond light-matter, -- explains Maxim Shcherbakov. -- We used our femtosecond laser complex acquired as part of the MSU development program".

Eventually, researches developed a "device": a disc 250 nm in diameter that is capable of switching optical pulses at femtosecond rates (femtosecond is a one millionth of one billionth of a second). Switching speeds that fast will allow to create data transmission and processing devices that will work at tens and hundreds terabits per second. This can make possible downloading thousands of HD-movies in less than a second.

The operation of the all-optical switch created by MSU researchers is based on the interaction between two femtosecond pulses. The interaction becomes possible due to the magnetic resonance of the silicon nanostructures. If the pulses arrive at the nanostructure simultaneously, one of them interacts with the other and dampers it due to the effect of two-photon absorption. If there is a 100-fs delay between the two pulses, the interaction does not occur, and the second pulse goes through the nanostructure without changing.

"We were able to develop a structure with the undesirable free-carrier effects are suppressed, -- says Maxim Shcherbakov. -- Free carriers (electrons and electron holes) place serious restrictions on the speed of signal conversion in the traditional integrated photonics. Our work represents an important step towards novel and efficient active photonic devices-- transistors, logic units, and others. Features of the technology implemented in our work will allow its use in silicon photonics. In the nearest future, we are going to test such nanoparticles in integrated circuits".

Media Contact

Vladimir Koryagin
science-release@rector.msu.ru

http://www.msu.ru 

Vladimir Koryagin | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers
15.11.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

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...

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

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>