comment on this article

Engineers erase and rewrite data on optical chips

Engineers can now flash a beam of UV light onto an optical chip to instantly erase all content thanks to a new development in a nanomaterial, according to Professor Yuebing Zheng from the Cockrell School of Engineering.

"The molecules in this material are sensitive to light, so we can use a UV light or specific light wavelengths to erase or create optical components," Prof Zheng said.

The hybrid nanomaterial relies on light and molecules to draw, delete and re-write optical components. It is composed of plasmonic surface, which is made up of aluminium nanoparticles, on top of which sits a 280nm polymer layer embedded with molecules that respond to light. The molecules can either become transparent, allowing the light waves to propagate, or they can absorb the light.

To test their innovation, the researchers used a green laser to develop a waveguide on the nanomaterial. They then erased the waveguide with a UV light, and re-wrote it on the same material using the green laser. The researchers believe they are the first to rewrite a waveguide using an all-optical technique.

The innovation allows for writing, erasing and rewriting to all happen on the 2D nanomaterial – instead of requiring stand-alone optical media, light sources and detectors as is the case for DVDs and other rewritable optical components – which paves the way for nanoscale optical chips and circuits.

"To develop rewritable integrated nanophotonic circuits, one has to be able to confine light within a 2D plane, where the light can travel in the plane over a long distance and be arbitrarily controlled in terms of its propagation direction, amplitude, frequency and phase," Prof Zheng said. "Our material, which is a hybrid, makes it possible to develop rewritable integrated nanophotonic circuits."

Peggy Lee

Comment on this article

This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:

Add your comments


Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

EMI/EMC filters

Astrodyne TDI, a manufacturer of power conversion and EMI/EMC solutions, has ...

Get to market faster

A quick look at using Vicor's PFM and AIM in VIA packaging for your AC to Point ...

Digital consciousness

​Would you consider uploading your brain to the cloud if it meant you could ...

Improving cancer care

Mirada Medical’s imaging technology is helping to accelerate cancer care by ...

Building resilience

James Woodhead talks to New Electronics about the need to build greater ...