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UK researchers perform maiden laser growth on silicon

UK researchers perform maiden laser growth on silicon

By BizLED Bureau

Mar 10, 2016: A team of UK researchers including several academics from a prestigious UK university has achieved the maiden feat to grow practical laser directly on a silicon substrate. This is a breakthrough in technology leading to lightning-fast communication between electronic systems and computer chips.

Experts believe, this shall impact a wide variety of sectors, from healthcare, communications to energy generation. The findings of the research have been published in the journal Nature Photonics.

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The most widely used material for the fabrication of electronic devices is silicon. It is widely used to make semiconductors, which are embedded into almost every device and piece of technology that impact or influence our lives. Broad examples are smartphones, computers, satellite, communications and GPS.

With pressure to get quicker, efficient and more complex, electronic devices have put an added demand on the underlining technology. Researchers have turned to light as a potential ultra-fast connector as they sometimes find difficult to meet to cater demands for traditional electrical interconnects between computer chips and systems. The process of combining semiconductor laser with silicon was difficult but researchers overcame the difficulties and integrated a laser directly grown onto a silicon substrate.

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Leading the experiment was Professor Huiyun Liu, who explained that the 1300 nm wavelength laser can perform at temperatures of up to 120°C and for up to 100,000 hours. Another researcher stated that realizing electrically-pumped lasers based on Si substrates is a fundamental step towards silicon photonics.

It is not possible to predict the exact outcome but this effort will clearly transform computing and the digital economy, revolutionize healthcare, and provide a change towards energy efficiency.

Compound semiconductor specialists IQE and Institute for Compound Semiconductors, Cardiff University, have been instrumental in achieving this target. The work in future is aimed at collating these lasers with waveguides and drive electronics leading to a comprehensive technology for the integration of photonics with silicon electronics”

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