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Home > Press > World record in silicon integrated nanophotonics - More energy efficiency in the data communication

Abstract:
Researchers of the Institute of Electrical and Optical Communications Engineering (INT) at the University of Stuttgart and the Institut für Mikroelektronik Stuttgart (IMS CHIPS) achieved a new world record in the energy efficient integration in silicon. This is an important step to decrease the energy consumption of data transfer in internet and telecommunication. The researchers optimized aperiodic grating couplers in the nanometer range with a new developed backside metal mirror. Through this new method a record coupling efficiency of 87 percent between optical fibers and photonic integrated waveguides on silicon wafers has been achieved.

World record in silicon integrated nanophotonics - More energy efficiency in the data communication

Stuttgart, Germany | Posted on July 4th, 2013

The internet and telecommunications are based on an optical core network that connects cities worldwide using glass fibers. These can carry light with very low losses over long distances. Based on a study published by CISCO, the mobile data transfer (smartphones) will solely increase from 885 petabytes per month (end of 2012) up to ten exabytes per month in the year 2017. To avoid a similar increasing energy consumption of our telecommunication systems, more efficient networks have to be developed, which represents nowadays a very interesting and actual research field.

Researchers of the INT and IMS CHIPS have developed a fabrication process to realize complex sender and receiver structures that are
integrated on silicon wafers. Hitherto existing optical senders and receivers are based on indium phosphide substrates, which are available only in small dimensions and to very high costs. Experts predict that optical connections will be necessary in the home computer of the year 2020 to exchange the huge amount of data between individual components of the computer. The used light has a frequency of around 192 Terahertz and hence can offer bandwidths of several Terahertz and data rates beyond 1 Terabit/s. Thus, worldwide researchers try to develop new components to make use of these tremendous data rates in commercial products. Since silicon is transparent at the used light frequency, this material can be utilized in waveguiding structures. Computing based on photons
in nanoelectronic circuits can be then achieved in future computer components.

For this purpose light has to be efficiently guided in silicon waveguides and coupled from one component to another. The resulting energy losses have to be kept as small as possible. Researchers of the University of Stuttgart achieved a new world record in coupling efficiency between optical fibers and integrated silicon waveguides based on the new developed aperiodic grating coupler structures that are fabricated using the technology process of IMS CHIPS. With a record of 87 percent and a bandwidth of around 40 nm the new structures can pave the way for more efficient integration of optical senders and receivers in silicon.

In this complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor fabrication process other components such as polarization beam splitters based on grating structures are also realized. The University of Stuttgart and IMS CHIPS achieved here as well promising results, which makes them leading in the integration of optical components in silicon. The researches will be concretized in commercial products with the support of industrial partners to achieve cost effective integrated senders and receivers in silicon that enable data rates beyond 1 Terabit/s.

The results will be published in September at the European Conference on Optical Communications in London (www.ecoc2013.org/).

####

About University of Stuttgart
University with main emphasis on engineering and natural sciences, combined with the humanities and the social sciences.

About INT

The institute of Electrical and Optical Communications
Engineering belongs to the faculty of “Computer Science, Electrical Engineering
and Information Technology” at the University of Stuttgart. Under the direction
of Prof. Manfred Berroth, the INT employs 22 members, active in research,
teachings, and administration. The main competences of the institute are
modeling, design, and measurement of integrated electrical and photonic
circuits and efficient power amplifiers. The institute is also a member of the
Stuttgart Center of Photonic Engineering (SCoPE), which supports the
interdisciplinary cooperation between the different departments of physics,
electrical and mechanical engineering at the University of Stuttgart.

About IMS CHIPS

The Institut für Mikroelektronik Stuttgart (IMS CHIPS) is a
public law foundation in Baden-Württemberg. It is engaged in industry oriented research
and development in the fields of silicon technology, application specific integrated
circuits (ASIC), nanostructuring, and imaging sensors. The institute offers
complete solutions for small and medium enterprises and is a partner of
national and international large concerns. Under the direction of Prof. Joachim
Burghartz, IMS CHIPS is composed of 80 highly qualified employees, which are
involved in the development of new products in the microelectronics and
microsystems and their transfer into production lines.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Andrea Mayer-Grenu
+ 49.711.685-82176


Prof. Manfred Berroth
Wissem Sfar Zaoui
University of
Stuttgart
Institute of Electrical und Optical Communications Engineering
(INT)
Tel. 0711/685-67922, -67892
E-Mail: berroth (at) int.uni-stuttgart.de
wissem.sfarzaoui (at) int.uni-stuttgart.de

Prof. Joachim Burghartz
Dr. Jörg Butschke
und
Dr. Florian Letzkus
Institut für Mikroelektronik Stuttgart (IMS)
Tel: 0711/21855-200, -453, -451
E-Mail: burghartz (at) ims-chips.de
butschke (at) ims-chips.de
letzkus (at) ims-chips.de

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