Optical manipulation on the nano-scale has turned into a vital research area, as researchers seek methods to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for information processing and communications.
The power to control and manipulate light on the nanometer scale will result in numerous functions along with data communication, imaging, ranging, sensing, spectroscopy, and quantum and neural circuits
Today, silicon has turned into the preferred built-in photonics platform due to its transparency at telecommunication wavelengths, capability for electro-optic and thermo-optic modulation, and its compatibility with existing semiconductor fabrication methods.
However, while silicon nanophotonics has made great strides in the fields of optical data communications, phased arrays, LIDAR, and quantum and neural circuits, there are two primary concerns for big-scale integration of photonics into these techniques: their ever-increasing requirement for scaling optical bandwidth and their high electrical power consumption.
Existing bulk silicon phase modulators can change the section of an optical signal; however, this process comes at the expense of either high optical loss or high electrical energy consumption.
A Columbia University group, guided by Michal Lipson, Eugene Higgins Prof. of Electrical Engineering and prof. of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, declared that they’ve found a new way to control the phase of light utilizing 2-D materials— 0.8 nanometer, or 1/100,000 the size of a human hair—without altering its amplitude, at extraordinarily low electrical power dissipation.
In this new research, featured in Nature Photonics, the researchers explained that by merely putting the thin materials on top of passive silicon waveguides, they might change the phase of light as strongly as current silicon phase modulators; however, with much lower optical loss and power consumption.