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."
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!
UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion
16.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
NASA keeps watch over space explosions
16.11.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
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...
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...
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...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
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...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences