Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Speeding up digital performance using engineered light

21.11.2016

In an experiment carried out at MPQ, the fastest ever switching of electric currents in semiconductors has been achieved with few-cycle laser pulses.

Modern electronics and digital technologies rely on the control of electric current in semiconductor devices, from computers to smartphones and amplifiers. An international study by scientists from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) lays foundations for a dramatic performance increase of semiconductor-based signal-processing technologies. (Optica, 14 November 2016, DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.001358).


A semiconductor connected to metal electrodes is exposed to an ultra-short laser pulse, generating and steering directly measurable electric currents.

Graphic: Christian Hackenberger

The work, published in Optica, found that electric current can be turned on and off in a semiconductor (gallium nitride in this case) at unprecedented speeds by using engineered light as a means of control. These findings pave the way for the design of optically controlled semiconductor electronic devices that can operate at frequencies much larger than those demonstrated until now.

“The time it takes to switch electric current on and off in a semiconductor, determines the rate at which electronic devices can perform. We found that by using few-cycles laser pulses with engineered optical field waveforms – which are the fastest tools available to researchers – electric current can be controlled in a semiconductor at rates thousands of times higher than those achieved in state-of-the-art electronics,” said Monash researcher and ARC Future Fellow, Dr. Agustin Schiffrin, the lead investigator of the study.

“We successfully investigated how these devices operate in various regimes by comparing the circuits with two different materials: gallium nitride and fused silica. In both cases, laser field induces interference of electronic excitations and allows controlling them on a femtosecond timescale. Our current setup performs at much lower field intensities than those required for dielectrics, so it can work even with non-amplified laser pulse sources,” said Dr. Stanislav Kruchinin, a researcher from MPQ.

This work showcases the fastest control of electric currents ever measured in a semiconductor, opening the door to the design of novel optically controlled electronics.

Original publication:

T. Paasch-Colberg, S. Yu. Kruchinin, Ö. Sağlam, S. Kapser, S. Cabrini, S. Muehlbrandt, J. Reichert, J. V. Barth, R. Ernstorfer, R. Kienberger, V. S. Yakovlev, N. Karpowicz and Agustin Schiffrin
Sub-cycle optical control of current in a semiconductor: from the multiphoton to the tunneling regime
Optica, 14 November 2016, DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.001358

Contact:

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng
Press & Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 32 905 -213
E-mail: olivia.meyer-streng@mpq.mpg.de

Silvia Dropulich
Marketing and Communications Manager
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9902 4513
E-mail: silvia.dropulich@monash.edu


Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
Further information:
http://www.mpq.mpg.de/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>