By combining plasmonics and optical microresonators, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a new optical amplifier (or laser) design, paving the way for power-on-a-chip applications.
"We have made optical systems at the microscopic scale that amplify light and produce ultra-narrowband spectral output," explained J. Gary Eden, a professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) at Illinois. "These new optical amplifiers are well-suited for routing optical power on a chip containing both electronic and optical components.
"Their potential applications in medicine are exciting because the amplifiers are actuated ('pumped') by light that is able to pass through human skin. For this reason, these microsphere-based amplifiers are able to transmit signals from cells and buried biomedical sensors to electrical and optical networks outside the body."
The speed of currently available semiconductor electronics is limited to about 10 GHz due to heat generation and interconnects delay time issues. Though, not limited by speed, dielectric-based photonics are limited in size by the fundamental laws of diffraction. The researchers, led by Eden and ECE associate professor Logan Liu, found that plasmonicsmetal nanostructurescan serve as a bridge between photonics and nanoelectronics, to combine the size of nanoelectronics and the speed of dielectric photonics.
"We have demonstrated a novel optoplasmonic system comprising plasmonic nanoantennas and optical microcavities capable of active nanoscale field modulation, frequency switching, and amplification of signals," states Manas Ranjan Gartia, lead author of the article, "Injection- Seeded Optoplasmonic Amplifier in the Visible," published in the journal Scientific Reports. "This is an important step forward for monolithically building on-chip light sources inside future chips that can use much less energy while providing superior speed pe
|Contact: Gary Eden|
University of Illinois College of Engineering