Silicon photonics

The field of silicon photonics is gaining significant momentum because it allows optical devices to be made cheaply using standard semiconductor fabrication techniques and integrated with microelectronic chips. This Focus Issue provides a comprehensive collection of articles that review up-to-date progress and the latest news in the field, as well as giving some ideas about what the future has in store and what challenges should be expected.



Simply silicon pp491


Silicon integrated optical chips that can generate, modulate, process and detect light signals offer the tantalizing prospect of cost-effectively meeting the ever-increasing demands on data speed and bandwidth.



Towards fabless silicon photonics pp492 - 494

Michael Hochberg & Tom Baehr-Jones


Silicon photonic devices can be built using commercial CMOS chip fabrication facilities, or 'fabs'. However, nearly all research groups continue to design, build and test chips internally, rather than leveraging shared CMOS foundry infrastructure.

Mid-infrared photonics in silicon and germanium pp495 - 497

Richard Soref


Ingenious techniques are needed to extend group IV photonics from near-infrared to mid-infrared wavelengths. If achieved, the reward could be on-chip CMOS optoelectronic systems for use in spectroscopy, chemical and biological sensing, and free-space communications.



Integrating silicon photonics pp498 - 499

Interview with Mario Paniccia


Mario Paniccia, Intel fellow and director of Intel's Photonics Technology Lab, talks to Nature Photonics about the company's progress in commercializing high-speed silicon photonics.


Progress article

Recent progress in lasers on silicon pp511 - 517

Di Liang & John E. Bowers


Silicon lasers have long been a goal for semiconductor scientists. This Progress Article reviews the most recent developments in this field, including silicon Raman lasers, the first germanium-on-silicon lasers operating at room temperature, and hybrid silicon microring and microdisk lasers. Challenges and opportunities for the present approaches are also discussed.



Silicon optical modulators  pp518 - 526

G. T. Reed, G. Mashanovich, F. Y. Gardes & D. J. Thomson


CMOS-compatible silicon optical modulators with high modulation speeds, large bandwidths, small footprints, low losses and ultralow power consumption are needed for current optical communications systems relying on highly integrated on-chip optical circuits. This Review summarizes the techniques used to implement silicon optical modulators, gives an outlook for these devices, and discusses the candidate solutions of the future.

High-performance Ge-on-Si photodetectors  pp527 - 534

Jurgen Michel, Jifeng Liu & Lionel C. Kimerling


Owing to their excellent optoelectronic properties, Ge-on-Si photodetector can be monolithically integrated with silicon-based read-out circuits for applications such as high-performance photonic data links and low-cost infrared imaging at low power consumption. This Review covers the major developments in Ge-on-Si photodetectors, including epitaxial growth and strain engineering, free-space and waveguide-integrated devices, as well as recent progress in Ge-on-Si avalanche photodetectors.

Nonlinear silicon photonics  pp 535 - 544

J. Leuthold, C. Koos & W. Freude


The increasing capability for manufacturing a wide variety of optoelectronic devices from polymer and polymer-silicon hybrids, including transmission fibre, modulators, detectors and light sources, suggests that organic photonics has a promising future in communications and other applications.

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