Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > MIT 'optics on a chip' may revolutionize telecom, computing--Research integrates photonic circuitry on a silicon chip

Abstract:
In work that could lead to completely new devices, systems and applications in computing and telecommunications, MIT researchers are bringing the long-sought goal of "optics on a chip"
one step closer to market.

MIT 'optics on a chip' may revolutionize telecom, computing--Research integrates photonic circuitry on a silicon chip

CAMBRIDGE, MA | Posted on February 5th, 2007

In the January 2007 inaugural issue of the journal Nature Photonics,
the team reports a novel way to integrate photonic circuitry on a
silicon chip. Adding the power and speed of light waves to
traditional electronics could achieve system performance
inconceivable by electronic means alone.

The MIT invention will enable such integrated devices to be
mass-manufactured for the first time. And, depending on the growth of
the telecom industry, the new devices could be in demand within five
years, said co-author Erich P. Ippen, the Elihu Thomson Professor of
Electrical Engineering and Physics.

The new technology will also enable supercomputers on a chip with
unique high-speed capabilities for signal processing, spectroscopy
and remote testing, among other fields.

"This breakthrough allows inter- and intra-chip communications
networks that solve the wiring problems of today's computer chips and
computer architectures," said Franz X. Kaertner, a professor of
electrical engineering and computer science.

In addition to Ippen and Kaertner, other members of the MIT team are
Tymon Barwicz (PhD 2005), Michael Watts (PhD 2005), graduate students
Milos Popovic and Peter Rakich, and Henry I. Smith, professor of
electrical engineering and co-director of MIT's Nanostructures
Laboratory.

Molding light waves

Microphotonics technology aims to "mold" the flow of light. By using
two different materials that refract light differently, such as
silicon and its oxides, photons can be trapped within a miniscule
hall of mirrors, giving them unique properties.

The stumbling block has been that microphotonics devices are
sensitive to the polarization of light.

Light waves moving through optical fibers can be arbitrarily
vertically or horizontally polarized, and microphotonic circuits
don't work well with that kind of random input. This has meant that
devices used in photonic subsystems and optical communication
networks, for instance, couldn't connect to the outside world without
often having to be assembled piecemeal and painstakingly by hand.

Like polarizing sunglasses, which use vertical polarizers to block
the horizontally oriented light reflected from flat surfaces such as
roads or water, the MIT method of integrating optics on a chip
involves separating the two orientations of polarized light waves.

Splitting the difference

The MIT researchers' innovative solution involves splitting the light
emanating from an optic fiber into two arms-one with horizontally
polarized beams and one with vertical beams-in an integrated, on-chip
fashion.

Setting these two at right angles to one another, the researchers
rotated the polarization of one of the arms, also in an integrated
way. The beams from the two arms, now oriented the same way, then
pass through identical sets of polarization-sensitive photonic
structures and out the other side of the chip, where the two split
beams are rejoined.

"These results represent a breakthrough in permitting the processing
and switching of arbitrarily polarized input light signals in tightly
confined and densely integrated photonic circuitry," said Ippen. The
innovation means that optical components can be integrated onto a
single silicon chip and mass-produced, cutting costs and boosting
performance and complexity.

The advantage in integrating optics with silicon technology is that
silicon fabrication technology "is already highly developed and
promises precise and reproducible processing of densely integrated
circuits," Kaertner said. "The prospect of integrating the photonic
circuitry directly on silicon electronic chips is ultimately also an
important driver."

In addition to offering a breakthrough in polarization, the MIT chip
also contains first-of-their-kind components in materials meeting
telecommunications specifications.

"Our results illustrate the importance of academic research in
nanofabrication and academia's role in breaking new pathways for the
industry to follow," Smith said. "Creating these devices was only
possible due to the unique nanofabrication facilities at MIT,
enabling fabrication with extraordinary precision."

This work was supported by Pirelli Labs in Milan, Italy, and made use
of MIT's Nanostructures Laboratory and MIT's Scanning Electron Beam
Lithography Facility, both within the Research Laboratory of
Electronics.

####

About MIT
Today MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research—with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle—continue to be its primary purpose. MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools and one college encompass numerous academic departments, divisions, and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories, and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Elizabeth A. Thomson, MIT News Office
Phone: 617-258-5402
Email:

Copyright © MIT

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Chip Technology

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

When superconductivity disappears in the core of a quantum tube: By replacing the electrons with ultra-cold atoms, a group of physicists has created a perfectly clean material, unveiling new states of matter at the quantum level April 16th, 2018

Nanometrics to Announce First Quarter Financial Results on May 1, 2018 April 10th, 2018

High-speed and on-silicon-chip graphene blackbody emitters: Integrated light emitters for optical communications April 5th, 2018

Optical computing/Photonic computing

High-speed and on-silicon-chip graphene blackbody emitters: Integrated light emitters for optical communications April 5th, 2018

Leti Silicon Photonics Design Kit Available in Synopsis OptoDesigner Suite: Kit Contains Design Rules and Building Blocks for Multi-Project Wafers And Custom Runs on Leti’s Si310 Platform April 5th, 2018

MSU-based physicists witnessed the turning of a dielectric into a conductor March 29th, 2018

Smaller and faster: The terahertz computer chip is now within reach: Hebrew university researcher shows proof of concept for nanotechnology that will make computers run 100 times faster March 27th, 2018

Discoveries

Observing biological nanotransporters: Chemistry April 19th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Individual impurity atoms detectable in graphene April 18th, 2018

One string to rule them all April 17th, 2018

Appointments/Promotions/New hires/Resignations/Deaths

Jim Barnhart Joins Nanometrics as Senior Vice President of Operations March 15th, 2018

Jonathan Chou to Join Nanometrics as Chief Financial Officer February 26th, 2018

Ocean Optics Grows Sales Organization with Executive Appointments: Henry Langston promoted, Christine Stannard joins spectral sensing product developer December 23rd, 2017

Emmanuel Sabonnadiere is Leti’s New CEO November 28th, 2017

Human Interest/Art

Weizmann Institute of Science Presents: Weizmann Wonder Wander - 4G - is Online June 21st, 2016

Call for NanoArt and Art-Science-Technology Papers June 9th, 2016

Scientists propose non-animal tools for assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials: Particle and Fibre Toxicology publishes recommendations from expert group meeting April 26th, 2016

Are humans the new supercomputer?Today, people of all backgrounds can contribute to solving serious scientific problems by playing computer games. A Danish research group has extended the limits of quantum physics calculations and simultaneously blurred the boundaries between mac April 14th, 2016

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Doing the nano-shimmy: New device modulates light and amplifies tiny signals April 12th, 2018

Phononic SEIRA -- enhancing light-molecule interactions via crystal lattice vibrations April 10th, 2018

High-speed and on-silicon-chip graphene blackbody emitters: Integrated light emitters for optical communications April 5th, 2018

Leti Silicon Photonics Design Kit Available in Synopsis OptoDesigner Suite: Kit Contains Design Rules and Building Blocks for Multi-Project Wafers And Custom Runs on Leti’s Si310 Platform April 5th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project