Ultra-High-Capacity Optical Communications and Networking: III-nitride Wide Bandgap Semiconductors for Optical Communications
Project Award Date: 11-01-2001
The base of this project lies in the combined effort to develop novel photonics components and photonics integrated circuits based on III-nitride wide band gap semiconductors for fiber-optical communications. The concept of this development begins with the need of high-speed optical switches and wavelength routers for future packet-switched all-optical networks.
The present forums, such as InP-based array waveguide gratings (AWG) are not fast enough to perform optical packet switches. Moreover, due to hight refractive index of the material and small waveguide size, InP-based AWG have unacceptable high optical loss and temperature sensitivity. Thusly, this medium is problematic and the search for new photonics materials becomes the solution.
There are numerous benefits to III-nitride optoelectronic devices, including: UV/blue emission, and the ability to operate at very high temperatures due to their mechanical hardness and larger band gaps. Thus far the research in III-nitrides has been focused on their applications in the blue/UV optoelectronic devices. One application as such of III-nitrides in the 1550nm wavelength region is to make electrically pumped waveguide optical amplifiers. Moreover, III-nitride semiconductors appear to be excellent host materials for erbium ions. Since erbium has much higher absorption efficiency in the short wavelengths than the currently used pumping wavelengths of 980nm or 1480nm, the amplifier can potentially be made very short. A third advantage of waveguide optical amplifiers is the possibility of integration with other functional optical devices, such as integrated wavelength routers, light sources and detectors.
The concepts of this project are distinct from recent mainstream research and development efforts. Through its success, this research may bring a technological breakthrough in fiber-optic networks, as well as the introduction into commerical applications, all optic packet switches.
Primary Sponsor(s): National Science Foundation (NSF)