Photonics. It’s a word to know. This technology uses light instead of electricity. It’s fast; it’s versatile; and it’s poised to be the next major advancement in human technology.
So far, photonics research has required expensive, sophisticated equipment like precision lasers and custom circuitry. But to realize its full potential, the technology has to get a lot smaller, cheaper and easier to produce. Researchers have made progress on these fronts, but still face challenges getting their circuits to work with shorter wavelengths of light.
In a finding that promises to make these components smaller and more powerful, a team from Nexus Photonics, UC Santa Barbara and Caltech has developed a technique to enable photonic chips to operate in the visible-to-near-infrared spectrum. The technique also takes advantage of methods common in electronic manufacturing, making it easy to produce inexpensively at scale. The results appear in the journal Nature.