Thursday, March 28, 2013
On-Chip Optical Networking Devices
Information systems now rely primarily on fiber optic networks to connect and share data around the world using photons instead of electrons, but the underlying computer technology is still based on electronic chips. Researchers are hard at work developing on-chip optical networking devices such as optical waveguides, switches, and amplifiers. Electrical engineering graduate student Andrew Grieco is developing a new type of optical waveguide that promises to improve efficiency and reduce power consumption. Grieco is a Ph.D. candidate in the Ultrafast and Nanoscale Optics Group led by Shaya Fainman, professor and chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. A newly built electron beam lithography fabrication tool house in the Nano3 Cleanroom Laboratory at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology is proving essential to his ongoing research. The e-beam lithography technology enables researchers to “write” very fine patterns on large substrates with a level of precision that was previously unavailable in the region.