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Silicon photonics

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3 Author(s)

The silicon chip has been the mainstay of the electronics industry for the last 40 years and has revolutionized the way the world operates. Today, a silicon chip the size of a fingernail contains nearly 1 billion transistors and has the computing power that only a decade ago would take up an entire room of servers. As the relentless pursuit of Moore's law continues, and Internet-based communication continues to grow, the bandwidth demands needed to feed these devices will continue to increase and push the limits of copper-based signaling technologies. These signaling limitations will necessitate optical-based solutions. However, any optical solution must be based on low-cost technologies if it is to be applied to the mass market. Silicon photonics, mainly based on SOI technology, has recently attracted a great deal of attention. Recent advances and breakthroughs in silicon photonic device performance have shown that silicon can be considered a material onto which one can build optical devices. While significant efforts are needed to improve device performance and commercialize these technologies, progress is moving at a rapid rate. More research in the area of integration, both photonic and electronic, is needed. The future is looking bright. Silicon photonics could provide low-cost opto-electronic solutions for applications ranging from telecommunications down to chip-to-chip interconnects, as well as emerging areas such as optical sensing technology and biomedical applications. The ability to utilize existing CMOS infrastructure and manufacture these silicon photonic devices in the same facilities that today produce electronics could enable low-cost optical devices, and in the future, revolutionize optical communications

Published in:

Microwave Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 3 )