Nanoscale photonics switch could enable 10-100 Terabit/s data transfer: Page 2 of 2

October 28, 2015 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Nanoscale photonics switch could enable 10-100 Terabit/s data transfer
An international team of researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Australian National University in Canberra have created an ultrafast all-optical switch on silicon nanostructures that may become a platform for future computers and permit to transfer data at an ultrahigh speed.
The operation of the all-optical switch created by MSU researchers is based on the interaction between two femtosecond pulses. The interaction becomes possible due to the magnetic resonance of the silicon nanostructures. If the pulses arrive at the nanostructure simultaneously, one of them interacts with the other and dampers it due to the effect of two-photon absorption. If there is a 100-fs delay between the two pulses, the interaction does not occur, and the second pulse goes through the nanostructure without changing.

"We were able to develop a structure where the undesirable free-carrier effects are suppressed," says Maxim Shcherbakov. "Free carriers (electrons and electron holes) place serious restrictions on the speed of signal conversion in the traditional integrated photonics. Our work represents an important step towards novel and efficient active photonic devices — transistors, logic units, and others. Features of the technology implemented in our work will allow its use in silicon photonics. In the nearest future, we are going to test such nanoparticles in integrated circuits".

"Device" is a disc 250 nm in diameter that is capable of switching optical pulses at femtosecond rates (femtosecond is a one millionth of one billionth of a second). Image courtesy of Maxim Scherbakov et al.

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