Research at the Nano-Optics and Optoelectronics Laboratory

Research Projects

Below is a list of projects currently active in the NOOR Lab. For list of publications, please see the web pages of the respective faculty.

3D Integration: Twinlabs

Faculty: Dr. Jaime Viegas, Dr. Marcus Dahlem, Dr. Clara Dimas, Dr. Anatoly Khilo, and most other Microsystems faculty

Three-Dimensional Integrated Microelectronics for Minimum Energy Design is a joint project between Masdar Institute and Technical University Dresden. High-bandwidth energy-efficient photonic data links are considered as a possible solution to the interconnect bottleneck facing modern computer systems. Photonics can be implemented in one or more layers of the 3D chip. These layers can be dedicated to photonics only, or they may contain some combination of photonic and electronic capabilities.

Within this project, NOOR faculty is working on such critical components as energy-efficient tunable filters which are not sensitive to temperature fluctuations, a silicon modulator. Future stages of the project will involve developments of other parts of photonic data links.

Three-dimensional electronic-photonic integration
Figure: A vision for a integrated chip which includes both electronic and photonic devices; electronics and photonics can be either in the same layer or in different layers bonded together.

Electronic-Photonic Integrated Circuits

Faculty: Dr. Anatol Khilo (Masdar Institute), Prof. Vladimir Stojanovic (MIT), Prof. Franz Kaertner (MIT)

The broad goal of the project we have is the integration of electronics and photonics on a silicon chip to create high-performance electronic-photonic integrated circuits with performance levels and functionality not possible with electronics or photonics alone. We pursue monolithic integration of photonics in the same layer with electronics, in a way which does not require costly modifications of electronic foundry process flow and does not compromise the performance of state-of-the-art electronics. The electronic-photonic integrated circuit layouts are submitted for fabrication to an electronic foundry in the same way as it is done by regular electronics customers. This approach was pioneered at MIT in the groups of Prof. Vladimir Stojanovic and Prof. Rajeev Ram, and our project is carried out in collaboration with these groups. For more details on this approach, please check the paper "Open foundry platform for high-performance electronic-photonic integration" by J. Orcutt et al. published in Optics Express, 2012.

Within this integration framework, we are working on design of photonic devices for low-power high-speed optical data links, such as modulators, grating and directional couplers. Another part of the project is the implementation of an electronic-photonic analog-to-digital converter system to achieve significant improvement in terms of speed and accuracy over the current state-of-the-art.

Three-dimensional electronic-photonic integration

Figure: A top-view photograph of a photonic front-end for an electronic-photonic ADC implemented on a silicon chip. The chip includes integrated silicon carrier-depletion modulator, microring resonator filter banks functioning as wavelength demultiplexers, and silicon defect-based photodetectors. For details, see Khilo et al., Optics Express 2012. (pdf)

Optical Signal Generation, Processing and Detection at Extended IR Wavelengths

Faculty: Dr. Jaime Viegas (Masdar Institute), Prof. Leslie Kolodziejski (MIT), Prof. Erich P. Ippen (MIT)

The electromagnetic spectrum that spans the infrared (IR) range encompasses some of the most interesting technological applications, from short-haul data transmission at near infrared (NIR, IR-A: 0.7-1.4 μm), to long-haul low-loss telecommunications at short wavelength infrared window (SWIR, IR-B: 1.4-2 μm), to chemical sensing and environmental monitoring of greenhouse gases at mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR, IR-C: 2-8 μm), to thermal imaging for biomedical and environmental applications in the long infrared range (LWIR: 8-15 μm).

In order to fully reap the benefits of such broad and useful applications, tools have been developed for the generation, management, processing and detection of light within that wavelength range. Still many improvements are possible, especially at longer infrared wavelengths, where suitable sources, modulators and detectors are sought to overcome present technology.

In this project we are designing and fabricating new widely tunable near-IR and mid-IR III-V semiconductor strained quantum well lasers for sensing applications.

Semiconductor racetrack lasers

Figure: A SEM micrograph of a semiconductor racetrack laser.

Light Management in PV Cells

Faculty: Dr. Marcus Dahlem, Dr. Jaime Viegas and Dr. Marco Stefancich

Duration: 2.5 years
Funding (direct): €100k / year
Partner: Masdar PV (Germany)

Light Management in Photovoltaic Cells

Design of Novel Photonic Crystal Structures for Solar Photovoltaic Applications

Faculty: Dr. Marcus Dahlem

Duration: 1 year
Funding (direct): $100k / year

Design of Novel Photonic Crystal Structures for Solar Photovoltaic Applications

Other Photonics Research at Masdar Institute

Apart from what is described here, NOOR lab researchers are always interested in discussing new ideas.

If you're interested in electronic devices and circuits and MEMS research, please check the Microsystems Program web pages for more information.