Imec integrate lasers into silicon wafers for photonics




It has imec, together with researchers from Ghent University, developed a method to integrate lasers on silicon wafers. Thus, the production of silicon photonics would be, a combination of optical communications and transistor technology, to be simpler and cheaper.

The integration of semiconductor lasers that are suitable for, on the same silicon substrate which is used for semiconductor devices for, among other processors is very inconvenient. The crystal structure of semiconductor laser does not match that of the silicon, so that additional steps are necessary in order to apply a compatibility layer first. Researchers from imec, an international research center that operates including in Leuven, Belgium, together with researchers from the University of Ghent a method developed to simplify the process.

They made use of silicon wafers on which had been applied a pattern of silicon oxide on which the laser-semiconductor material was able to ‘grow’. This semiconductor material, indium phosphide, was raised as a vapor where it voorge√ętste pattern served as a handhold. For the laser operation were gratings in the waveguides of the indium phosphide etched. By varying the grids, the wavelength of the lasers could be set, and during the tests were found to be functioning lasers uniform. In this manner, were prepared in a full-300mm wafer of silicon with the aid of standard CMOS manufacturing methods InP lasers built.

The research could pave the way for large-scale and low-cost production of lasers on silicon wafers. Such lasers can then be combined with CMOS structures, as processors or signal processors so that the lasers be operated directly with electrical pulses. This optical chips could be realized, so that optical data communication can take place and even can be communicated within computers with optical, instead of electrical signals faster.


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