Researchers develop nanolasers on silicon

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Researchers at Cardiff University have shown tiny light-emitting nanolasers less than a tenth of the size of the width of a human hair can be integrated into silicon chip design.

The photonic band-edge lasers are able to operate at superfast speeds and have the potential to help the electronics industry deliver a range of new applications – from optical computing to remote sensing and heat seeking,

Professor Diana Huffaker is Scientific Director of Cardiff University’s Institute of Compound Semiconductors, based at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

“This is the first demonstration that shows how photonic band-edge lasers can be integrated directly on patterned silicon-on-insulator platforms,” said Professor Huffaker.

“Silicon is the most widely used material in semiconductor industries. However, it has been difficult to integrate compact light sources on this material. Our research breaks through this barrier by developing extremely small lasers integrated on silicon platforms, applicable to various silicon-based electronic, optoelectronic, and photonic platforms.”

The paper, Room‐Temperature InGaAs Nanowire Array Band‐Edge Lasers on Patterned Silicon‐on‐Insulator Platforms, has been published in Physics Status Solidl - RRL.

Professor Huffaker'S research expertise lies in nanoscale epitaxy, fabrication and optoelectronic devices. Active projects include 3D nanolasers, advanced photodetectors and photovoltaics.

Commenting Dr Wyn Meredith, Director of the Compound Semiconductor Centre, a Joint Venture between IQE and Cardiff University, said: “This research will have long-term implications in the rapidly expanding field of photonics, with a particular emphasis on driving commoditisation of high volume, high specification optical components for mass market communications and sensing applications.“

Cardiff University, IQE and the Compound Semiconductor Centre are members of CS Connected – the world’s first hub for compound Semiconductor technologies based in South Wales.