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Unique properties of graphene lead to a new paradigm for low-power telecommunications
Date:7/15/2012

New research by Columbia Engineering demonstrates remarkable optical nonlinear behavior of graphene that may lead to broad applications in optical interconnects and low-power photonic integrated circuits. With the placement of a sheet of graphene just one-carbon-atom-thick, the researchers transformed the originally passive device into an active one that generated microwave photonic signals and performed parametric wavelength conversion at telecommunication wavelengths.

"We have been able to demonstrate and explain the strong nonlinear response from graphene, which is the key component in this new hybrid device," says Tingyi Gu, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering. "Showing the power-efficiency of this graphene-silicon hybrid photonic chip is an important step forward in building all-optical processing elements that are essential to faster, more efficient, modern telecommunications. And it was really exciting to explore the 'magic' of graphene's amazingly conductive properties and see how graphene can boost optical nonlinearity, a property required for the digital on/off two-state switching and memory."

The study, led by Chee Wei Wong, professor of mechanical engineering, director of the Center for Integrated Science and Engineering, and Solid-State Science and Engineering, will be published online in the Advance Online Publication on Nature Photonics's website on July 15 and in print in the August issue. The team of researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore are working together to investigate optical physics, material science, and device physics to develop next-generation optoelectronic elements.

They have engineered a graphene-silicon device whose optical nonlinearity enables the system parameters (such as transmittance and wavelength conversion) to change with the input power level. The researchers also were able to observe that, by opti
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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
347-453-7408
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert  

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