Researchers: Michael Eggleston, Seth Fortuna
Funding Agency: AFOSR; NSF E3S Center
A nanoLED with enhanced spontaneous emission rates will be designed, fabricated, and characterized. The nanoLED will be an attractive option as a light source for future integration into CMOS chips. Its small physical volume, high-efficiency, and fast modulation speeds will enable the use of on-chip optical interconnects that will be able to reduce on-chip energy consumption while allowing for higher clock speeds.
Currently, the size of semiconductor lasers is limited by the diffraction limit of light. In any dielectric cavity, light cannot be “squeezed” into a volume smaller than (λ/2n)3. However, by using charge oscillation in low-loss metals such as gold and silver, it is possible to squeeze optical frequency light into volumes on the order of ~10nm3. By using an optical antenna spontaneous emission can be emitted at a very fast rate. These optical antenna based nanoLEDs will be significantly smaller than traditional laser cavities and therefore ease the integration of these devices for use in CMOS optical interconnects. The small modal volume will also reduce the power consumed by the light emitter. Finally, by using antenna-enhanced spontaneous emission, we will be able to achieve modulation bandwidths greater than 50 GHz at quantum efficiencies approaching and possibly exceeding 50%.