Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > NIST/JQI Team 'Gets the Edge' on Photon Transport in Silicon

In this false-color scanning electron microscope image, the arrow shows the path light takes as it hops between silicon rings along the edge of the chip, successfully avoiding defects – in this case a missing ring.
Credit: NIST
In this false-color scanning electron microscope image, the arrow shows the path light takes as it hops between silicon rings along the edge of the chip, successfully avoiding defects – in this case a missing ring.

Credit: NIST

Abstract:
Scientists have a new way to edge around a difficult problem in quantum physics, now that a research team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and University of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have proved* their recent theory about how particles of light flow within a novel device they built.

NIST/JQI Team 'Gets the Edge' on Photon Transport in Silicon

Gaithersburg, MD | Posted on October 23rd, 2013

While the problem itself—how to find an easier way to study the quantum Hall effect—may be unfamiliar to many, the team's solution could help computer designers use light instead of electricity to carry information in computer circuits, potentially leading to vast improvements in efficiency.

The quantum Hall effect is observed when there is a magnetic field perpendicular to a flat wire that has electrons flowing through it. The field pushes the electrons over to one side of the wire, so their flow is concentrated along its edge. Although a fairly exotic piece of physics, the quantum Hall effect already has been applied to make better standards for electrical conductance. But the effect is hard to study because measuring it requires stringent lab conditions, including extremely low temperatures and samples of exceptional purity.

The team looked for a way around these issues, and in 2011 they found** a potential, albeit theoretical, answer: Build a model system in which particles of light behave exactly like electrons do when subjected to the quantum Hall effect, and study that system instead.

"We knew building an analogous system that uses photons would have additional advantages," says NIST physicist Mohammad Hafezi. "Light can carry much more information than electricity, so working with a photon-based system also could help us design computer components that use light."

To test their theory, the team built an array of tiny, nearly flat silicon rings atop an oxide surface. Beaming photons of the right wavelength at one of the rings makes these photons loop around the ring many times. The rings—which look like 25-micrometer wide racetracks—sit about 150 nanometers from one another, close enough that a photon in one ring can hop to an adjacent one. If a ring happens to be defective—which can and does happen in the fabrication process—the photon instead hops to another ring, but eventually finds its way back to the edge of the array, where it continues traveling. Thus the device transports photons from one place to another even if some of the rings don't function, a key point for manufacturers, who will want devices that work even if they are not physically flawless.

But why go through the trouble of making the photons go ring-hopping? Hafezi says the rings encourage the photons to travel only along the edge of the array instead of taking a path through its midsection—just like electrons experiencing the quantum Hall effect do in a conductor. The secret, he says, lies in the rings' arrangement and its peculiar effect on the photons.

"Our theory showed the topology of the ring array would create the effect we wanted, and our experiment confirms it," Hafezi says. "We now have a robust silicon device that can transport photons at room temperature. We hope it will prove useful for both fundamental studies of physics as well as practical component design."

####

About National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Chad Boutin
301-975-4261

Copyright © National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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 Links

*M. Hafezi, S. Mittal, J. Fan, A. Migdall and J.M. Taylor. Imaging topological edge states in silicon photonics. Nature Photonics, doi:10.1038/nphoton.2013.274, Oct. 20, 2013:

**See the Aug. 30, 2011, Tech Beat story, "Better 'Photon Loops' May Be Key to Computer and Physics Advances," at:

Related News Press

News and information

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Laboratories

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Recreating conditions inside stars with compact lasers: Scientists offer a new path to creating the extreme conditions found in stars, using ultra-short laser pulses irradiating nanowires January 12th, 2017

NIST physicists 'squeeze' light to cool microscopic drum below quantum limit January 12th, 2017

Physics

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chip Technology

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Discoveries

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Announcements

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Recreating conditions inside stars with compact lasers: Scientists offer a new path to creating the extreme conditions found in stars, using ultra-short laser pulses irradiating nanowires January 12th, 2017

New laser based on unusual physics phenomenon could improve telecommunications, computing January 12th, 2017

Researcher's discovery of new crystal structure holds promise for optoelectronic devices January 6th, 2017

The researchers created a tiny laser using nanoparticles January 5th, 2017

Quantum nanoscience

First experimental proof of a 70 year old physics theory: First observation of magnetic phase transition in 2-D materials, as predicted by the Nobel winner Onsager in 1943 January 6th, 2017

Quantum simulation technique yields topological soliton state in SSH model January 3rd, 2017

Diamonds are technologists' best friends: Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University have grown needle- and thread-like diamonds and studied their useful properties December 30th, 2016

Two electrons go on a quantum walk and end up in a qudit: Russian scientists find a way to reliably connect quantum elements December 13th, 2016

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project