Yale scientists have created a new type of silicon laser that uses sound waves to amplify light. A study about the discovery appears in the online edition of the journal Science.
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in translating optical technologies — such as fiber optics and free-space lasers — into tiny optical or “photonic” integrated circuits. Using light rather than electricity for integrated circuits permits sending and processing information at speeds that would be impossible with conventional electronics. Researchers say silicon photonics — optical circuits based on silicon chips — are one of the leading platforms for such technologies, thanks to their compatibility with existing microelectronics.
“We’ve seen an explosion of growth in silicon photonic technologies the past few of years,” said Peter Rakich, an associate professor of applied physics at Yale who led the research. “Not only are we beginning to see these technologies enter commercial products that help our data centers run flawlessly, we also are discovering new photonic devices and technologies that could be transformative for everything from biosensing to quantum information on a chip. It’s really an exciting time for the field.”
The researchers said this rapid growth has created a pressing need for new silicon lasers to power the new circuits — a problem that has been historically difficult due to silicon’s indirect bandgap. “Silicon’s intrinsic properties, although very useful for many chip-scale optical technologies, make it extremely difficult to generate laser light using electrical current,” said Nils Otterstrom, a graduate student in the Rakich lab and the study’s first author. “It’s a problem that’s stymied scientists for more than a decade. To circumvent this issue, we need to find other methods to amplify light on a chip. In our case, we use a combination of light and sound waves.”
The laser design corrals amplified light within a racetrack shape — trapping it in circular motion. “The racetrack design was a key part of the innovation. In this way, we can maximize the amplification of the light and provide the feedback necessary for lasing to occur,” Otterstrom said.
To amplify the light with sound, the silicon laser uses a special structure developed in the Rakich lab. “It’s essentially a nanoscale waveguide that’s is designed to tightly confine both light and sound waves and maximize their interaction,” Rakich said.
“What’s unique about this waveguide is that there are two distinct channels for light to propagate,” added Eric Kittlaus, a co-author of the study and a graduate student in the Rakich lab. “This allows us to shape the light-sound coupling in a way that permits remarkably robust and flexible laser designs.”
Without this type of structure, the researchers explained, amplification of light using sound would not be possible in silicon. “We’ve taken light-sound interactions that were virtually absent in these optical circuits, and have transformed them into the strongest amplification mechanism in silicon,” Rakich said. “Now, we’re able to use it for new types of laser technologies no one thought possible 10 years ago.”
Otterstrom said there were two main challenges in developing the new laser: “First, designing and fabricating a device where the amplification outpaces the loss, and then figuring out the counter-intuitive dynamics of this system,” he said. “What we observe is that while the system is clearly an optical laser, it also generates very coherent hypersonic waves.”
The research team said these properties may lead to a number of potential applications ranging from integrated oscillators to new schemes for encoding and decoding information. “Using silicon, we can create a multitude of laser designs, each with unique dynamics and potential applications,” said co-author Ryan Behunin, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University and a former member of the Rakich lab. “These new capabilities dramatically expand our ability to control and shape light in silicon photonic circuits.”
Learn more: New laser makes silicon ‘sing’
Receive an email update when we add a new SILICON PHOTONICS article.
The Latest on: Silicon photonics
via Google News
The Latest on: Silicon photonics
- Silicon Photonics Products Market Market by Manufacturers, Regions, Product Types, Application and Forecast to 2022 on December 4, 2018 at 8:15 pm
Silicon Photonics Products Market report focuses on rising market drifts to pinpoint market opportunities, to assist businesses and develop effective ways to optimize their market positions. The Silic... […]
- Programmable Networks Get a Bigger Foot In The Datacenter Door on December 4, 2018 at 7:21 pm
The chip package can be tweaked to drive copper or optical transceivers, and even snap in silicon photonics at some point in the future, Ed Doe, vice president of product, business, and strategy, tell... […]
- Barefoot Expands Reach With Tofino 2 Network Chips on December 4, 2018 at 11:48 am
... and is built using a modular chiplet architecture with silicon that can be upgraded up to 100G SerDes and silicon photonics. Three Tofino Chip Families The new chip also will come in three familie... […]
- Global Silicon Photonics Sensor Market 2018, Driving Factors, Demands & Overview by Key Manufacturers on December 4, 2018 at 3:04 am
Qyresearchreports include new market research report "Global Silicon Photonics Sensor Market Insights, Forecast to 2025" to its huge collection of research reports. The Silicon Photonics Sensor market ... […]
- Juniper’s founder turns to custom silicon for handling the data tsunami on November 30, 2018 at 12:38 pm
Juniper also bought Aurrion Inc., a silicon photonics platform that offered lower bit-per-second costs for networked systems. “What we are entering is a phase that I would call heterogeneous ... […]
- Photonic Sensors Show Resilience Against Large Doses of Radiation on November 29, 2018 at 10:51 am
Nov 2018 GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov. 29, 2018 — Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have identified a class of silicon photonic sensors that could be effective in high ... […]
- Update on Bojiang Capital's Silicon Catalyst Incubator: A USD 24 Million Series A Financing Round Completed for the Ayar Labs Project in the Incubator on November 29, 2018 at 9:03 am
and introduce edge multi-chip modules by integrating the advantage of silicon photonics. Ayar Labs' optical chips will be integrated into the existing multi-chip module ecosystem to obtain high ... […]
- Photonic Radiation Sensors Survive Huge Doses Undamaged on November 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm
But the general consensus has been that high levels of radiation would modify the optical properties of their silicon, leading to incorrect readings. So NIST, long a world leader in many areas of phot... […]
- Intel Targets 5G Infrastructure with Silicon Photonics Transceivers on September 24, 2018 at 2:36 am
At the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Rome, Intel revealed the specs of their new silicon photonics receivers designed to provide communications service and cloud providers wit... […]
via Bing News