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NIST/JQI team 'gets the edge' on photon transport in silicon
Date:10/23/2013

ich look like 25-micrometer wide racetrackssit about 150 nanometers from one another, close enough that a photon in one ring can hop to an adjacent one. If a ring happens to be defectivewhich can and does happen in the fabrication processthe photon instead hops to another ring, but eventually finds its way back to the edge of the array, where it continues traveling. Thus the device transports photons from one place to another even if some of the rings don't function, a key point for manufacturers, who will want devices that work even if they are not physically flawless.

But why go through the trouble of making the photons go ring-hopping? Hafezi says the rings encourage the photons to travel only along the edge of the array instead of taking a path through its midsectionjust like electrons experiencing the quantum Hall effect do in a conductor. The secret, he says, lies in the rings' arrangement and its peculiar effect on the photons.

"Our theory showed the topology of the ring array would create the effect we wanted, and our experiment confirms it," Hafezi says. "We now have a robust silicon device that can transport photons at room temperature. We hope it will prove useful for both fundamental studies of physics as well as practical component design."


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Contact: Chad Boutin
boutin@nist.gov
301-975-4261
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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NIST/JQI team 'gets the edge' on photon transport in silicon
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