OPTOELECTROMECHANICAL SWITCH AND PROGRAMMING AN OPTICAL NETWORK

FLC Business Search OPTOELECTROMECHANICAL SWITCH AND PROGRAMMING AN OPTICAL NETWORK

OPTOELECTROMECHANICAL SWITCH AND PROGRAMMING AN OPTICAL NETWORK

Compact and energy-efficient programmable optical networks (PON) have the potential
to extend current electrical information processing networks by new and unique
functionalities such as optical neural networks used for pattern recognition at the speed
of light (e.g. cancer screening); all-optical data routing in server farms, and integrated
optical circuits to miniaturize tabletop quantum systems to microchip size. In optics, light
is manipulated to transmit information million times faster than electronics, while
promising minimal heat dissipation. And heating is the major issue for existing data center
and integrated circuits. The fundamental challenge is that information can only be
effectively stored electrically, and thus PONs need to be co-integrated with electronics.
This co-integration is challenging as the latter has matured over decades and transistors
– the work horse of electronics – are approaching the atomic level. Contrarily, thermoelectro-
optical switching units – the work horse of current PONs – are millimeters long
and dissipate intolerable level of heat even in standby. In order to enable PON micrometer
sized electro-optic switches are needed that can be reprogrammed using the limited
CMOS voltage-levels provided by electronics, while keeping optical losses at a minimum.

Patent Abstract: 

Combining reprogrammable optical networks with CMOS electronics is expected to provide a
platform for technological developments in on-chip integrated optoelectronics. Our invention
demonstrates how opto-electro-mechanical effects in micrometer-scale hybrid-photonic-plasmonic structures enable light switching under CMOS voltages and low optical losses (0.1 dB). Rapid (e.g. tens of nanosecond) switching is achieved by an electrostatic, nanometer-scale perturbation of a thin, and thus low-mass, gold membrane that forms an air-gap hybrid-photonic-plasmonic waveguide. Confinement of the plasmonic portion of the light to the variable-height air gap yields a strong opto-electro-mechanical effect, while photonic confinement of the rest of the light minimizes optical losses. The demonstrated hybrid architecture provides a route to develop for the first time applications for CMOS-integrated, reprogrammable optical systems such as optical neural networks for deep learning.

Inventors: 

Joerg, Andreas; Mazur, Mikael; Chelladurai, Daniel; Leuthold, Jueg; Aksyuk, Vladimir Anatolyevich; Lezec, Henri J.; Haffner, Christian

Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
20-008
Patent Status: 
Published Patent Application
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