Mixing materials for integrated photonic innovation

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Moynihan, Owen
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The Boolean, University College Cork
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Photonics, an ever-growing field since the invention of lasers in the 1960s, has been applied in wide-ranging applications such as optical communications, sensing, imaging and more. Photonic integrated circuits (PIC) are the next step to take this technology and shrink it onto a semiconductor chip, leading to more compact, cheaper, and lower power consumption solutions. However, integrated photonics faces the challenge of lacking a single material platform that encompasses all the desired properties, unlike its more mature electronic integrated circuit counterpart which uses silicon with a standardised fabrication process known as complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS). To overcome this limitation, researchers are exploring hybrid and heterogeneous integration techniques. By combining the strengths of different photonic platforms, such as III-V materials for light emission, silicon for strong light guidance, silicon-nitride for visible light guiding, and lithium niobate for its modulating capabilities, integrated photonic technologies can harness the collective advantages and unlock new possibilities. “Light brings us the news from the universe.” - Sir William Bragg.
Integrated photonics , Semiconductor fabrication , Heterogeneous integration
Moynihan, O. (2024) 'Mixing materials for integrated photonic innovation', The Boolean: Snapshots of Doctoral Research at University College Cork, 7, pp. 19-25. https://doi.org/10.33178/boolean.2024.1.4
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