PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 1 -- Translucent Inc., a silicon electronics and photonics semiconductor company, announced it has achieved a major milestone in its quest to develop advanced silicon-based photonics devices.
Translucent says the achievement involves the demonstration of electroluminescence (EL) at room temperature in a form of silicon that is compatible both with the mass-produced silicon chips of today and the silicon electronics technology nodes of the future.
“Demonstration of electroluminescence at telecommunication wavelengths and room temperature in this new class of silicon-based semiconductors is a significant achievement, and represents a materials science breakthrough for both electronic and photonic applications,” said Petar Atanackovic, Translucent CEO. “This is an important step forward in our optical silicon integration program. The ultimate objective is to develop optically active devices, including an electrically driven silicon laser, which can be integrated with mainstream silicon chips,” he added.
According to the company, the demonstration of EL is a critical prerequisite to the integration of electronic and optical functions in silicon, and essentially allows light to be generated from silicon by an electric current, such as that provided by a small battery, or by an operating silicon chip itself. Previous demonstrations of EL in silicon by other groups have been reported at subzero cryogenic temperatures, or in forms of silicon which are not compatible with today’s silicon chips or future technology nodes.
The EL milestone is part of the Electronics and Photonics Integrated Circuits (EPIC) program funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). Under a DARPA contract which began in January 2005, Translucent is funded to develop proprietary silicon-based optical gain devices as part of the broader EPIC Program, details of which can be found at: www.darpa.mil/mto/epic/
Meanwhile, Translucent says it is making progress in its second project, in which a similar class of novel materials is being developed for application to the conventional silicon chip industry. These advanced electronic materials include silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and high-k substrates. The company says its research team is currently focused on optimizing its SOI material in preparation for industry validation early in 2006, with its first commercial success expected soon thereafter. Translucent is a subsidiary of Silex, an Australia-based technology development company. Further information on the group’s activities can be found on the Silex Web site: www.silex.com.au