New transparent metamaterials under development could make possible computer chips and interconnecting circuits that use light instead of electrons to process and transmit data, representing a potential leap in performance.
Although optical fibers are now used to transmit large amounts of data over great distances, the technology cannot easily be miniaturized because the wavelength of light is too large to fit within the miniscule dimensions of microcircuits.
“The role of optical fibers is to guide light from point A to point B, in fact, across continents,” said Zubin Jacob, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. “The biggest advantage of doing this compared to copper cables is that it has a very high bandwidth, so large amounts of data can pass through these optical cables as opposed to copper wires. However, on our computers and consumer electronics we still use copper wires between different parts of the chip. The reason is that you can’t confine light to the same size as a nanoscale copper wire.”
Transparent metamaterials, nanostructured artificial media with transparent building blocks, allow unprecedented control of light and may represent a solution. Researchers are making progress in developing metamaterials that shrink the wavelength of light, pointing toward a strategy to use light instead of electrons to process and transmit data in computer chips.
“If you have very high bandwidth communication on the chip as well as interconnecting circuits between chips, you can go to faster clock speeds, so faster data processing,” Jacob said. Such an advance could make it possible to shrink the bulkiness of a high-performance computer cluster to the size of a standard desktop machine.
Unlike some of the metamaterials under development, which rely on the use of noble metals such as gold and silver, the new metamaterials are made entirely of dielectric materials, or insulators and non-metals. This approach could allow researchers to overcome a major limitation encountered thus far in the development of technologies based on metamaterials: using metals results in the loss of too much light to be practical for many applications.
A review article about all-dielectric metamaterials appeared online this month in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, highlighting the rapid development in this new field of research. The article was authored by doctoral student Saman Jahani and Jacob.
“A key factor is that we don’t use metals at all in this metamaterial, because if you use metals a lot of the light goes into heat and is lost,” Jacob said. “We want to bring everything to the silicon platform because this is the best material to integrate electronic and photonic devices on the same chip.”
A critical detail is the material’s “anisotropic velocity” – meaning light is transmitted much faster in one direction through the material than in another. Conventional materials transmit light at almost the same speed no matter which direction it is traveling through the material.
“The tricky part of this work is that we require the material to be highly anisotropic,” he said. “So in one direction light travels almost as fast as it would in a vacuum, and in the other direction it travels as it would in silicon, which is around four times slower.”
The innovation could make it possible to modify a phenomenon called “total internal reflection,” the principle currently used to guide light in fiber optics. The researchers are working to engineer total internal reflection in optical fibers surrounded by the new silicon-based metamaterial.
“Our contribution has been basically the fact that we have been able to adapt this total internal reflection phenomenon down to the nanoscale, which was conventionally thought impossible,” Jacob said.
Because the material is transparent it is suitable for transmitting light, which is a critical issue for practical device applications. The approach could reduce heating in circuits, meaning less power would be required to operate devices. Such an innovation could in the long run bring miniaturized data processing units.
“Another fascinating application for these transparent metamaterials is in enhancing light-matter coupling for single quantum light emitters,” Jacob said. “The size of light waves inside a fiber are too large to effectively interact with tiny atoms and molecules. The transparent metamaterial cladding can compress the light waves to sub-wavelength values thus allowing light to effectively interact with quantum objects. This can pave the way for light sources at the single photon level.”
The Latest on: Photonic circuits
via Google News
The Latest on: Photonic circuits
- Optical Society of America Lauds UCSB Professor Dan Blumenthalon February 22, 2020 at 9:07 am
Honored for his innovations in ultra low-loss photonic integrated circuits and their applications, Daniel Blumenthal, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has been ...
- Photonic IC Market Research Technology Outlook 2019-2025on February 20, 2020 at 12:21 pm
The Photonic IC Market recently Published Global Market research study with more than 100 industry informative desk and Figures spread through Pages and easy to understand detailed TOC on "Photonic IC ...
- Continuous-wave quantum dot photonic crystal lasers grown on on-axis Si (001)on February 20, 2020 at 3:54 am
This work establishes a new route to form the basis of future monolithic light sources for high-density optical interconnects in future large-scale silicon electronic and photonic integrated circuits.
- POET Technologies Confirms Receipt of Scheduled Paymenton February 19, 2020 at 5:16 am
SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- POET Technologies Inc. (“ POET ” or the “ Company ”) (OTCQX: POETF; TSX Venture: PTK), the designer and developer of the POET Optical Interposer and ...
- New tool to study how neuronal networks recover their function after neuron losson February 18, 2020 at 11:11 am
The objective is to understand the response mechanisms that take place in the brain neuronal circuits, and which prevent a total ... the Institute of Neurosciences of the UB (UBNeuro), the Institute ...
- Global Photonic Integrated Circuits Market by 2029on February 17, 2020 at 10:07 pm
The report "Global Photonic Integrated Circuits Market, By Types of Component (Laser (Optical Laser), Modulators, Detectors, Transceivers, Multiplexer/De-multiplexer, and Optical Amplifiers), By Types ...
- Moving precision communication, metrology, quantum applications from lab to chipon February 13, 2020 at 11:05 am
Blumenthal said next-generation photonic integration will require ultra-wideband photonic circuit platforms that scale from the UV to the IR and also offer a rich set of linear and nonlinear ...
- Moving precision communication, metrology, quantum applications from lab to chipon February 12, 2020 at 5:41 am
The field of photonic integration—the area of photonics in which waveguides and devices are fabricated as an integrated system onto a flat wafer—is relatively young compared to electronics.
- Keysight, NOEIC and CompoundTek Establish Open Standards for Layout, Design and Automation of Photonic Integrated Circuit Testingon February 11, 2020 at 8:14 am
Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, National ...
- Keysight, NOEIC and CompoundTek Establish Open Standards for Layout, Design and Automation of Photonic Integrated Circuit Testingon February 11, 2020 at 8:00 am
... foundry services leader in emerging silicon photonic solutions (SiPh), will work together to establish layout design standards for the automated testing of photonic integrated circuits (PICs).
via Bing News