Novel Lasers Garner NSF Grant
ARLINGTON, Texas, Oct. 14, 2013 — Work to increase the speed and capacity of silicon chips using novel lasers has received an additional $353,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
University of Texas Arlington electrical engineering professor Weidong Zhou said the work will advance the use of lasers on silicon based on the breakthroughs reported by his group on printed photonic crystal membrane lasers on silicon last year in Nature Photonics.
In that work, Zhou and colleague Zhenqiang Ma of the University of Wisconsin-Madison created 2-µm-high surface-emitting laser for on-chip optical connections. Ma is also collaborating on this project.
“Lasers on silicon remain a major roadblock toward making integrated silicon photonics work,” Zhou said. “Integrating light or lasers on those silicon chips has the potential to increase capacity, increase speed and lower the energy consumption of what those chips do.”
Zhou’s technology uses photonic crystals to route laser beams in a method that increases the efficiency of the light on the integrated circuit.
“It’s like building construction vertically in New York City because there’s nowhere to build horizontally,” Zhou said.
Illustration of transfer printed photonic crystal membrane lasers for silicon on-chip integration. Courtesy of Hongjun Yang.
The technology could eventually allow designers to place optical links on silicon chips with much less wasted material, time and effort, he said. It also has applications for optical imaging, sensing, biointegrated electronics, signal processing and data transmission, among others.
For more information, visit: www.uta.edu
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