A team of researchers working at Columbia Engineering recently came up with a new method to control the propagation of light through restricted pathways as well as waveguides with more efficiency with nanoantennas. In order to demonstrate this technology, they created a device with integrated photons that were not only with record-small footprints but also had the capability to maintain optimum performance over an unprecedented range of broader wavelengths.
The Photonic ICs or the Integrated Circuits are extracted through the propagation of light under optical waveguides, light propagation control is one of the core issues in the creation of such chips, it makes use of light in place of the electron for transportation of data. This new method developed by Yu’s team can easily lead to more potent, faster, and efficient optical chips, this, in turn, can easily transform optical communications as well as optical signal processing.
The assistant professor of applied physics, Nanfang Yu, explains, “We have built integrated nanophotonic devices with the smallest footprint and largest operating bandwidth ever. The degree to which we can now reduce the size of photonic integrated devices with the help of nano-antennas is similar to what happened in the 1950s when large vacuum tubes were replaced by much smaller semiconductor transistors. This work provides a revolutionary solution to a fundamental scientific problem: how to control light propagating in waveguides in the most efficient way.”
The optical strength of light waves moving along waveguides is restricted inside the waveguide core, researchers only have access to guided waves through some very small evanescent “tails” that are present near the surface of the waveguide. These are elusively guided waves that are very difficult for manipulation and therefore, integrated devices are mostly larger in size, take up some space and therefore restrict the device integration density of these chips.
The shrinking size of photonic integrated devices signifies a very basic challenge that researchers wish to overcome, imitating the historical progress of electronics that comes adheres to Moore’s law which states that the total number of transistors present in electronic ICs doubles up in every 24 months. The team here build a waveguide mode that could easily convert a specific waveguide mode into another mode. An optical wavelength is quite capable of supporting basic waveguide mode. MDM is a new strategy that can augment information processing power of an optical chip substantially.
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