Friday, July 30, 2010

#IBM's #Optical Amp Ushers in Era of #Silicon #Photonics

Computing with light instead of electrons is the aim of this optical amplifier from IBM, which repurposes its CMOS fabs for crafting tiny waveguides, optical gratings, mixers and other photonic devices. Look for medical spectroscopy made so sensitive with IBM's light amplifier that it can detect disease in a puff of breath within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Scanning electron microscope cross-sectional image of the silicon (Si) waveguide core, the silicon dioxide (SiO2) and silicon oxynitride (SiOxNy) cladding layers. The color-map illustrates the Ey electric field component of the fundamental transverse-magnetic mode at a wavelength of λ = 2200 nm.

Here is what EETimes says about IBM's optical amplifier: Optical amplifiers used in applications like telecommunication links must be made with materials such as indium gallium arsenide phosphide. IBM researchers said they have been able to do the same thing for other applications using a much less expensive standard silicon process. Fabricated at its Yorktown Heights, N.Y., pilot line using the same silicon photonic waveguides used for telecommunications optical interconnects, the new silicon optical amplifier targets the mid-infrared band used by heat sensors, medical imagers and industrial process monitors...
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