Silicon photonics is the holy grail of optical communications, enabling cheap integrated optics that handle all high-speed communications among chips and even among on-chip cores. Now IBM has demonstrated the last piece of the photonics toolkit--an optical receiver on a silicon-on-insulator substrate (SoI). Look for optical chips that integrate graphene with CMOS in five years. R.C.J.
IBM Research has demonstrated an optical link using a graphene photodetector fabricated on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate. The 10 Gbit per second receiver uses a novel interdigitated source and drain on a field-effect transistor (FET) with graphene as the channel. The vertical-incidence metal-graphene-metal photodetector achieved a very wide bandwidth of 300 nanometers to 6 microns, making the graphene optical link a promising candidate not only for communications, but for remote sensing, environmental monitoring and surveillance.
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