In a recent study, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have come up with a new method to fabricate and design integrated, on-chip modulator that is hundred times smaller and twenty times more efficient than the lithium niobite (LN) modulators used currently.
The research is explained in Nature. According to the senior author of the paper and the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering at SEAS, says that the research reveals the essential technological advancements in integrated photonics. He also added by saying that their platform can help in generating large scale, swift, and ultra-low-loss photonic circuits. It will also help in assisting different types of applications for quantum and classical photonic computation and communication in the forthcoming years.
The Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) has worked intimately with the Loncar Lab to initiate a startup company, HyperLight. The entire intention of this startup was to commercialize a portfolio of foundational intellectual property associated with this research. OTD’s Physical Sciences & Engineering Accelerator did the funding for the technology toward the introduction of HyperLight. Generally, OTD provides funding for research projects that indicate the potential for substantial commercial impact.
Lithium niobate modulators are the strength of today’s telecommunication, as it helps in changing electronic data to optical information in fiber optic cables. Nevertheless, usual LN modulators are expensive, bulky, and require a large amount of power. These modulators need a voltage of 3 to 5 volts that is much high than provided by CMOS circuitry that provides nearly 1 volt. Thus, additional power consuming amplifiers are required to push the modulators, badly limiting chip-scale optoelectronic integration.