Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diamond as a building material for optical circuits

Date:
April 11, 2013
Source:
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Summary:
The application of light for information processing opens up a multitude of possibilities. However, to be able to adequately use photons in circuits and sensors, materials need to have particular optical and mechanical properties. Researchers have now for the first time used polycrystalline diamond to manufacture optical circuits.

Two parallel free-standing waveguides made of polycrystalline diamond serve as mechanical resonators. Optical fields (red/blue) are observed to propagate inside of them.
Credit: Graphic: KIT/CFN/Pernice

The application of light for information processing opens up a multitude of possibilities. However, to be able to adequately use photons in circuits and sensors, materials need to have particular optical and mechanical properties. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now for the first time used polycrystalline diamond to manufacture optical circuits and have published their results online in Nature Communications.

"Diamond has several properties that allow us to manufacture all components of a ready-to-use optomechanical circuit monolithically, so to speak," says KIT research group leader Wolfram Pernice. "The elements thus manufactured that is, the resonators, circuits, and the wafer, are attractive because of their high quality."

Diamond is optically transparent to light waves of a wide range of wavelengths including the visible spectrum between 400 and 750 nm. It is due to this fact that it can be used specifically in optomechanical circuits for applications in sensor technology and fluorescence imaging, or for novel optical biological measuring methods. Whereas the high refractive index of diamond and the absence of absorption allow an efficient photon transport, its high modulus of elasticity makes it a robust material which adapts excellently to rough surfaces and releases heat rapidly.

So far, optical circuits have been manufactured using monocrystalline diamond substrates i.e., highly pure crystals with typically no more than one impurity atom to every one billion diamond atoms. Such circuits are bound to be small and their application to optical systems has required sophisticated fabrication methods.

Now, for the first time, the research group headed by Pernice used polycrystalline diamond for the fabrication of wafer-based optomechanical circuits. Even though its crystal structures are more irregular, polycrystalline diamond is robust and thus can be more easily processed. It is due to these specific properties that polycrystalline diamond can be used on much larger areas than monocrystalline material. Polycrystalline diamond conducts photons almost as efficiently as the monocrystalline substrate and is suitable for industrial use. As a matter of fact, monolithic optomechanical components could not have been manufactured without this new material.

Optomechanics combines integrated optics with mechanical elements e.g., with nanomechanical resonators in the case of the optomechanical circuit developed by Pernice and his group. These oscillatory systems react to a certain frequency. When that frequency occurs, the resonator is excited into vibration. "Nanomechanical resonators are among today's most sensitive sensors and are used in various precision measurements. It is extremely difficult, however, to address such smallest components through conventional measuring methods," explains Patrik Rath, first author of the study. "In our study, we have made use of the fact that today, nanophotonic components can be manufactured in the same sizes as nanoscale mechanical resonators. When the resonator responds, corresponding optical signals are transferred directly to the circuit." This novel development has allowed the combining of once separate fields of research and has enabled the realization of highly efficient optomechanical circuits.

Integrated optics works in a similar manner to integrated electrical circuits. Whereas optical circuits transmit information via photons, conventional electronic circuits transfer data via electrons. Integrated optics aims to combine all components required for optical communication in an integrated optical circuit to avoid a detour via electrical signals. In both cases, the respective circuits are applied to slices less than one mm in thickness i.e., to the so-called wafers.

The polycrystalline diamond was manufactured in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics and the company Diamond Materials in Freiburg, Germany. The prototypes manufactured within the Integrated Quantum Photonics-project at the DFG Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN) in Karlsruhe open up new ways for entirely optically controlled platforms that are increasingly needed in fundamental research and advanced sensor technologies. These technologies include accelerometers that are integrated in various electronic devices such as airbag sensors or smartphone waterlevels.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Patrik Rath, Svetlana Khasminskaya, Christoph Nebel, Christoph Wild, Wolfram H.P. Pernice. Diamond-integrated optomechanical circuits. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1690 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2710

Cite This Page:

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. "Diamond as a building material for optical circuits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411075445.htm>.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. (2013, April 11). Diamond as a building material for optical circuits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411075445.htm
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. "Diamond as a building material for optical circuits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411075445.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 16, 2014) Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Lockheed Martin announced plans to develop the first-ever compact nuclear fusion reactor. But some experts said the excitement is a little premature. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) The American Chemical Society’s latest video about chemistry in every day life breaks down pizza, and explains exactly why it's so delicious. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) has the video. Video provided by Buzz60
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