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
- POET Technologies Announces Date Change and Sets Venue for Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholderson July 17, 2019 at 8:09 am
and Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) for the data- and tele-communication markets, today announced a change in the meeting date for its annual and special meeting of shareholders (the “Meeting”). A ... […]
- Nanophotonic structures enable artificial visionon July 12, 2019 at 2:16 am
Researchers: Zongfu Yu (left), Ang Chen (centre) and Efram Khoram (right) developed the concept for a "smart" piece of glass that recognizes images without any external power or circuits. Photo ... […]
- TowerJazz, Cadence and Lumerical Deliver Silicon-Photonics and SiGe- Integrated PDK with a Complete Optical Transceiver Design Environmenton July 10, 2019 at 1:58 pm
“Our partnership with Cadence and TowerJazz enables photonic integrated circuit designers to co-simulate their electro-optical and photonic components using leading tools they are familiar ... […]
- Cicso targets silicon photonics again with $2.6BN Acacia bidon July 9, 2019 at 8:19 am
Cisco says it plans to support Acacia’s existing and new customers looking to combine coherent optics with digital signal processing, photonic integrated circuit (PIC) modules, and transceivers for ... […]
- Aehr to Showcase FOX-NP™ Test and Reliability Qualification Solution at Semicon West 2019 in San Franciscoon July 9, 2019 at 5:30 am
Increased quality and reliability needs of the Automotive and Mobility integrated circuit markets are driving additional ... and reliability verification solution for logic, memory and photonic ... […]
- Photonic mythson July 8, 2019 at 5:32 am
One day, an ‘optical transistor’ may be invented that can compete with the electron-based version, but current photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology will never supersede CMOS. A truly optical ... […]
- NeoPhotonics Announces Shipment of 53 Gbaud Linear Driver ICs for Silicon Photonics Based Modulators for 400G Data Center Applicationson July 8, 2019 at 5:26 am
SAN JOSE, Calif., July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- NeoPhotonics Corporation (NYSE: NPTN), a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced hybrid photonic integrated circuit based modules and subsystems ... […]
- New Report on Photonic Integrated Circuits PIC Market Estimate To Boost Growth In Demand By 2025: Global Forecast, Market Overviewon July 7, 2019 at 7:42 am
Jul 07, 2019 (marketresearchupdates.com via COMTEX) -- Photonic Integrated Circuits PIC market provides a detailed analysis of the industry for the estimation period of 2019 - 2025. Photonic ... […]
- Generation and sampling of quantum states of light in a silicon chipon July 2, 2019 at 6:43 am
Crucially, the fabrication of photonic chips requires the same techniques used for fabricating electronic micro-chips in the semiconductor industry, making the fabrication of quantum circuits at a ... […]
- Global Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) Market Status and Prospect, Forecast 2019 to 2025on June 20, 2019 at 1:24 am
(MENAFN - QYresearch.us) Worldwide Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) Market 2019 report can be a set of quote industry competition throughout the supply chain and details out of industry pros. The ... […]
via Bing News