Researchers develop new integration techniques for efficient coupling of III-V and silicon.

Credit: Overview of Lasers and Photonics(2024)

Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have developed a new integration technique for efficient integration of III-V compound semiconductor devices and silicon, enabling low cost, large volume, and high speed and throughput. But the path to photonic integration has been paved. which can revolutionize data communication.

Unlike conventional integrated circuits, or microchips, which use electrons, photonic integrated circuits use photons, or particles of light. Photonic integration combines light and electronics to accelerate data transfer. Silicon photonics (Si-photonics), in particular, is at the forefront of this revolution because it enables the creation of high-speed, low-cost connections that can handle large amounts of data simultaneously.

While silicon can handle passive optical functions, it struggles with active tasks, such as generating light (lasers) or detecting it (photodetectors)—both key components of data generation and reading. This requires the integration of a III-V semiconductor (which uses group III and V materials of the periodic table) for full functionality and improved performance.

But while III-V semiconductors do active work well, they naturally don’t work well with silicon. The team, led by Prof. Ying Zhou, Research Assistant Professor and Prof. Ki Mei Lau, Research Professor in the Division of Emerging Interdisciplinary Areas (EMIA), met this challenge by finding a way to efficiently make III-V devices work with silicon. deal with .

They developed a technique called lateral aspect ratio trapping (LART) – a new selective direct epitaxy method that can grow III-V materials on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) in the lateral direction without the need for thick buffers.

Although no integration method reported in the literature can solve the challenge with high coupling efficiency and high production volume, their method achieves an in-plane III-V laser, so that the III-V laser can be in-plane with Si. Can be combined. effective

“Our approach overcomes the mismatch between III-V devices and Si. It achieves the best performance of III-V devices and makes combining III-V with Si easier and more efficient,” Professor Zhou said.

In the past decades, data traffic has grown rapidly due to emerging technologies, such as big data, cloud applications, and sensors. The field of integrated circuits (ICs), also known as microelectronics, has enabled this development by making electronic devices smaller and faster thanks to Moore’s Law, the observation that the number of transistors on a microchip increases every two It doubles every year. But the constant explosion of data traffic has pushed traditional electronic devices to their limits.

The beginning of the Zettabyte Era in 2016 saw rapid growth in data generation, processing, transmission, storage and readout. This increase in data poses significant challenges of speed, bandwidth, cost and power consumption. This is where the photonic Especially in Si-photonics.

In the next steps, the team plans to show that III-V lasers integrated with silicon waveguides can perform well, such as lower thresholds, higher output power, longer lifetimes, and higher operating temperatures. With potential.

He said there are key scientific challenges to solve before the technique can be used in real life. But it will enable new-generation communications and various emerging applications and research areas, including supercomputers. (AI), biomedicine, automotive applications, and neural and quantum networks.

The study was recent published In the journal Overview of Lasers and Photonics.

More information:
Ying Xue et al, In-plane 1.5 µm distributed feedback lasers selectively grown on (001) SOI (Laser Photonics Rev. 18(1)/2024), Overview of Lasers and Photonics (2024). DOI: 10.1002/lpor.202470006

Reference: Researchers develop efficient coupling of III-V and silicon (2024, February 16) Retrieved February 17, 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-technique-efficient-coupling-iii-silicon Developed new integration techniques for html

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