Silicon-Based Photonics

    We live in the silicon age, with the seemingly inexorable progress of Moore’s law touching more and more of our lives. The remarkable success of silicon in manufacturing processes has driven intensive research into its use for photonics, culminating in the commercialization over the last five years of optical communications based on Si photonics components. Professor Robert A. Norwood is working to add new capabilities to the Si photonics platform, namely the means to rapidly switch and route light of various wavelengths.

    Here we see a portion of a wavelength-switching device based on silicon micro-ring resonators. Each resonator pictured is about 50 microns in diameter; the rings are made of silicon and the underlying material is silicon dioxide. Coating such silicon waveguides with newly developed materials called electro-optic polymers can make switches of exceptional speed, more than 100 gigabits per second. This work is among the numerous breakthrough technologies emerging from CIAN, as discussed above.
    Silicon photonic microring resonators
    Silicon photonic microring resonators for ultracompact high speed optical switching.