Merging nano-optics and nano-electronics
Alexander Dmitriev. From: University of Gothenburg, to: Stanford University, USA.
Our vision is to explore the possibilities in extreme light concentration, provided by coupling of light into surface plasmons in nanometals (nano-optics), and light interaction with semiconductor electronic elements devised at the same scale (nano-electronics). We will use top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication to develop the prototype lowloss optical elements, functioning together with electronic components, to actively shape their optical and electrical response. The future of such merger will present highly integrated optoelectronic devices that are able to manipulate light for information processing and solar energy applications.
Summary Project Results
Nano-optics (manipulating light at a nanoscale) and electronics are developing rapidly in the last decades, which has enabled completely new and exciting research directions. During this project we attempt to combine nano-optics and semiconductor nano-electronics/optielectronics to establish new fundamental understanding of how to manipulate light at the nanoscale. We use metallic nanostructures (1 nm = 1x10(-9) meters) as a bridge between microphotonics and nanoscale electronics, one plays to the strengths of both the metallic nanostructures (concentrating electromagnetic fields and subwavelength guiding) and semiconductor electronic components (high-speed and high-performance information processing). This is advantageous in a broad range of applications, with optoelectronic transparent optical elements (polarizers, lenses, beam-splitters etc.) and photovoltaic devices being the two examples that will be the focus of the project.
The project combines two internationally recognized competence areas - highly parallel nanofabrication (my group at University of Gothenburg) and nano-optics with nanometals and semiconductor antennas (Prof. Mark L. Brongersma at Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Stanford University, US, one of the pioneers of the science of nano-optics). Our objective with this project is to reveal the practicalities of how visible light can be manipulated by an externally applied electrical blas or other means in the format, suitable for practical integrated optical devices. We aim at creating nano-thin optical surfaces that polarize, split and twist light, and are dynamically and rapidly reconfigurable using externally applied electrical bias. This will create fast-tunable lenses, (augmented reality) holograms, and optical sensors.
A completely new line of research have been established at the Deaprtment of Physics, University of Gothenburg as a result of my visit to Stanford. With the gained experience in transparent optical elements/nanoantennas that potentially form the components for the augmented and Virtual reality (wearable) devices, we now pursue such research in Gothenburg. Moreover, such transparent optical elements will find extensive use in LIDAR technology for the self-driving vehicles and the scanning sensors for the facial recognition (similar to those used in face-id technology). The latter two would combine the transparent optical surfaces and the miniaturized chip-integrated laser sources. This line of research is pursued in the newly established collaboration with the Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2) Department, Photonics Laboratory at Chalmers University of Technology.