Engineering for Devices that run on a High Speed


Using a laptop, tablet or a smartphone means benefitting from the research done in photonics. A team headed by Tingyi Gu is in the process of development of a cutting-edge technology that will enable better and quicker communication between the photonic devices and their users.

“In this work, we explored the bandwidth limitation of the graphene-integrated silicon photonics for future optoelectronic applications,” said the first author of the study, Dun Mao

Silicon occurs naturally, is found in abundance, and is used in electronic devices as a semiconductor but the scientists have exhausted the possibility of semiconductor devices that are made of silicon only.

Gu and his research team are now trying to combine silicon with something that has more favorable properties such as the 2D material graphene. The material has this name as it is only a layer of atoms. Graphene, in comparison to silicon, has much better carrier mobility, direct bandgap and it also allows faster transmission of electrons and better optical and electrical properties. The combination of both graphene with silicon will help in faster utilization of technologies currently used with silicon devices.

“Looking at the materials properties, can we do more than what we’re working with? That’s what we want to figure out,” said Thomas Kananen.

“The UD Nanofabrication Facility (UDNF) is a staff-supported facility that enables users to fabricate devices on length scales as small as 7 nm, which is approximately 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair,” explained Doty. “The UDNF, which opened in 2016, has enabled new research directions in fields ranging from optoelectronics to biomedicine to plant science.”

The combination of graphene and silicon can also be utilized as a photodetector, that is responsible for sensing light and producing current, with greater bandwidth and lesser time of response than current offerings. “It can make the network stronger, better and cheaper,” said the first author of the study, Dr. Tiantian Li. “That is a key point of photonics.”

“We’re looking at more components based on a similar structure,” Gu said.