Faster, more powerful ICT, or experts can see something between the onset of fruit rot and microscopic cracks in glass fibers: the technology is stable photonic in great promise for the future. To fulfill those promises, a European consortium led by TU / ei researchers was taken to the next step. The INSPIRE project uses a book -printing method that can produce large amounts of hybrid photonic particles. This combines many technologies to create new capabilities for applications.
In recent years many technologies have been developed to make small objects produce, detect, manufacture and carry light. These photonic components are used from sensors to monitor food quality to components that can communicate broadband data.
“Basically, most photonic particles come in three flavors,” says Martijn Heck, Professor of Photonic Integration and editor of the INSPIRE-project. “They’re made of silk, silicon nitride, or indium phosphide. At TU / e we’re the backbone experts.”
Each of the photonic materials currently in use comes with their advantages and disadvantages. Silicon, as well as silicon nitride, can be used to carry the light on the chip with low losses. And what is the foundation under the current semiconductor industry, chips-based chips can be made with available semiconductor manufacturing technologies.
However, silk has one serious disadvantage: it cannot produce light. So if you want a laser, you have to look for something else. And that’s where indium phosphide comes into play.
About the technical production process
Heck: “With indium phosphide we can make powerful materials like lasers and amplifiers, but silicon nitride photonics are much better at directing light.
The technology, in turn, can place indium phosphide compounds on top of the established wave guides. However, the current process is not suitable for sound production, said Luc Augustin, CTO of SMART photonics, a manufacturer involved in the project.
“With this project we want to research the possibilities to scale and print entire columns of devices at the same time. Indium phosphide and silicon nitride wafers can be made in high volumes, which are available in each wafer has thousands of photonic materials.But if we want to make. to combine the two, we have to make that chip on chip. It can work well in a lab setting, but there is no place nearby. to an appropriate process for the industry. “
The INSPIRE project hopes to solve that problem and integrate more in a way that is scalable, sustainable and cost -effective. Heck: “In this project, we took three different technologies: we used micro-transfer printing, provided by X-Celeprint, to print many indium phosphide materials made by SMART photonics on top of silicon nitride wafers made in imec. “
“It was first demonstrated how printing works on a single technical level in the lab. With this project we want to explore the possibilities to expand and print entire columns of devices at the same time. “said INSPIRE science leader Yuqing Jiao.
How to bake a board cake
Here’s the recipe: a silicon nitride wafer containing passive pieces of the final chip made with a very flat and clean surface. For indium phosphide, a release layer of substances was first developed. This is combined with the indium phosphide board which contains materials such as lasers, optical amplifiers or photodetectors.
The release plate is secured to the bottom, leaving behind the smallest anchors to hold the various components in place. The thin indium phosphide coupon is then harvested, the anchors are broken, and the entire indium phosphide is placed on top of the silicon nitride. As long as the bond between the two layers is smooth, an ultrathin layer of adhesive is sufficient to permanently attach the coupon to the wafer.
“Because the release board is made from materials that we previously used in our process, this board has nothing to do with design and manufacturing,” says Augustin from SMART Photonics. “The hardest part is getting the etching part, making sure we really change everything from the wafer and keep them in full working order.”
Jiao adds: “Another problem is finding a clever way to properly set the ‘stamps.’ We need indium phosphide producers to be mounted on their silicon nitride containers with an accuracy of less than one micrometer for each.
Three use cases
To demonstrate the power of the available hybrid technology, in the series three dedicated use cases will be explored. The first was a fiber sensing reading, requested by colleague Thales. They need a system that can detect gaps in large buildings such as buildings and bridges with the help of optical fibers.
This technology provides continuous, real -time and accurate measurements of changes in changes throughout the building, and in areas that are inaccessible to human users. Jiao says: “The laser pulse is sent into the fiber. When a building defect is found, this translates to a defect in the fiber, for example a twist or break.”
“Because of this, thoughts will come. Depending on the location and nature of the defect, the intensity and level of the projected light will change. By looking at these thoughts, one can decide what is done and where. “
This proposal is expected to be very demanding in terms of technical details, Heck added. “To do this properly with combined photonics, we need a low -intensity laser. Also, while the signals we want to measure do not have the highest intensity, we need to implement low voice and high awareness. This combination of demands is where hybrid technology can make a difference. “
The second use related to microwave photonics is the model used in telephone communication. In addition, Thales applies as an end user. Jiao: “For wireless communication, the higher the frequency, the lower the coverage. So when you go from 4G to 5G or 6G, you need new base stations. Fiber optics. “
“In the INSPIRE project, we are building a pulse generator that converts information from the electrical signal to a microwave photonic signal that is fed into the fibers. This technology is the most effective model for radar applications. Because you didn’t get the signal to take the signal in the air, the power was less, and it was more difficult for the enemies to attack.
The third use case, an optical switch to reduce the energy use of data centers, was also researched with the University of Cambridge, a tradition from photonics, Augustin said. “Today’s data centers are a picture.
The difficulty there is to come up with new technologies for all-optical transmissions that can change the amount of data at the same time, Heck said. “We have to replace a lot of inputs with a lot of inputs, and low losses. In training that’s what we need to do with a lot of wave guides and related changes. to equipment where we need to prevent thermal crosstalk. “
“Because the goal is to be a complete connector with only one interface for fiber inputs and one for products, we need to find ways to integrate hundreds of optical amplifiers, phase modulators and waveguide isolators in a single box, regardless of their temperature. ”If we can demonstrate this printing technology that will enable the high performance of hybrid chips, it will open up new opportunities. to explore new markets, ”Jiao said.
On top of these three use cases, Jiao and Heck consider four: quantum optical solvents. Heck: “While there is a much larger niche market, applications such as single photon sources or sensors for quantum technology can make an interesting case…. with the mission of our newly established Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute, to integrate electronics, photonics and quantum technology. ”
In addition, Augustine is thinking ahead of the project. “INSPIRE is the next innovation in photonic integration. All over the world, people are looking for ways to combine different things into a single box to combine innovations… This.”
“As SMART Photonics, we develop standard technologies. If we can demonstrate this printing technology that will enable the high performance of hybrid chips, it will open up new opportunities to explore markets. For example, if we were able to print one photographer on top of another, we might be able to print photographs electronically, or on top of other microfluidics for biosensors. players need to accomplish this. ”
The new technology creates ultralow-loss coupled photonic circuits
Presented by Eindhoven University of Technology
Directions: Printing optical chips as a board (2022, March 30) Retrieved March 30, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-03-optical-chips-layer- cake.html
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