Over the past few decades, silicon photonics has revolutionized photonic integrated circuits by leveraging the semiconductor CMOS manufacturing infrastructure for low cost, high performance devices and systems. However, key fundamental challenges of the field remain unsolved: packaging the devices with optical fibers and generating light on chip.
We developed a novel approach for fiber packaging based on fusing the fiber and chip together. Connecting a silicon photonic chip across long distances requires attaching optical fibers to the chip. In practice, the packaging of optical fibers to photonic devices is time consuming, lossy, and expensive. This process is usually done by gluing the fiber and chip together using optical adhesives. By fusion splicing the chip and fiber together we have demonstrated losses as low as 1dB for single fibers and 2.5dB for an array of four fibers.
Imagine a laser as thick as an atom that is compatible with silicon photonics. Silicon based materials are passive. Since silicon is an indirect band gap material it is a poor light emitter. To generate light on a silicon photonic integrated circuit, you need to integrate active materials, which are usually not compatible with CMOS, with the device. Two-dimensional materials are excellent candidates for light sources, modulators, and detectors; and they are compatible with CMOS electronic manufacturing in the back end. We recently demonstrated the first fully on-chip 2D laser. Due to their thickness and transfer process, we envision electronic-photonic devices with many optical layers, each with their own lasers, modulators, and detectors based on 2D materials. Our recent demonstration completes the set of active devices completely based on 2D materials.
Jaime Cardenas is an assistant professor at The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester. He earned his PhD in Optical Science and Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2005. After two years as a process development engineer, he joined the Lipson Group at Cornell University as a postdoc. He is a member of the Nonlinear Optical Technologies committee for CLEO and the Optical Interconnects committee for IPC.