Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photonics: The smaller the better

Date:
July 5, 2012
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
Waveguides that combine metallic and semiconductor structures can be made more compact, experts say.

A variety of nanoplasmonic waveguides of complex shapes.
Credit: 2012 Optical Society of America

Waveguides that combine metallic and semiconductor structures can be made more compact, researchers say.

Increasing the areal density at which electronic components can be integrated onto a computer chip has always been key to the revolution of technological applications. However, achieving the same feat in the world of optics has been proven difficult as light waves cannot be compressed to sizes below their wavelength by conventional semiconductor-based optical waveguides.

Metallic structures, in theory, are able to provide such functionality through so-called plasmonic effects. In practice, however, the large optical losses have hampered the implementation of such schemes. Combining the benefits of conventional optics with plasmonics, Shiyang Zhu and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics have now demonstrated how structures made of semiconductor and metals represent a more viable approach to effectively miniaturize optical circuits.

Plasmonic effects are based on motions of electrons at the surface of metals that act like an antenna on incoming light. They can be very effective to squeeze light into small volumes, although transport losses when guiding light along such small volumes are much higher than for conventional semiconductor waveguides (linear structures for guiding electromagnetic waves).

Zhu and colleagues observed waveguides based on semiconductor silicon. First, ridges are etched out of silicon chip to form the basis for the waveguide architecture. The surface of the silicon is then oxidized to provide electrical insulation of the silicon before it is covered in a thin copper layer (see image).

This architecture has the benefit of very efficiently squeezing light into the waveguide via the surrounding copper layer, but travels mostly along the core made of silicon and not the metal. Silicon is transparent for light at telecommunications frequencies and thus shows low losses. "These waveguide structures are not only compatible with the fabrication processes of silicon computer chips," says Zhu. "More importantly, the use of silicon and silicon oxide and related semiconductors enables further possibilities to potentially achieve other effects, such as light amplification, and control over the plasmon properties."

Having previously shown that such waveguides are able to guide light efficiently, the researchers have now demonstrated a number of complex photonic structures, including the splitting of light beams at multiple junctions, the propagation of light across multiple kinks and steps, resonator structures that show light interference effects and many more.

"This is only a first step towards the varied and complex effects possible with these structures," says Zhu. "The next step is to demonstrate some of the active functionality, especially to combine waveguides with ultracompact plasmonic light modulators based on related designs for complete functional nanoplasmonic circuits."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhu, S., Lo, G. Q. & Kwong, D. L. Components for silicon plasmonic nanocircuits based on horizontal Cu-SiO2-Si-SiO2-Cu nanoplasmonic waveguides. Optics Express, 2012 DOI: 10.1364/OE.20.005867

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Photonics: The smaller the better." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705133351.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2012, July 5). Photonics: The smaller the better. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705133351.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Photonics: The smaller the better." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705133351.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins