Great optics

Connie Chang-HasnainWhinnery Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences Connie Chang-Hasnain was named associate dean for strategic alliances in July. (Photo by Noah Berger)Harnessing light with photonic integrated circuits on silicon promises to catalyze powerful new applications in energy-efficient telecommunications, computing and more, as standard electronic circuits did in the past. This requires photonic devices to be integrated into dense, high-performing circuits, which may now be possible using semiconductor nanostructures developed in the lab of Connie Chang-Hasnain, Whinnery Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences. Her team has designed a robust toolkit of nano-optoelectronic circuit elements—including light emitters, photodetectors, a photovoltaic power supply and optical links to connect these devices into circuits—that were found to perform as well as their traditional counterparts. Chang-Hasnain and her students discovered a new method to grow light-efficient nanoresonators on a silicon substrate. Then they can use conventional nanofabrication techniques to make photonic integrated circuits, making product manufacturing easier down the line.

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