Yale scientists have found a way to greatly boost the intensity of light waves on a silicon microchip using the power of sound.
Writing in the journal Nature Photonics, a team led by Peter Rakich describes a new waveguide system that harnesses the ability to precisely control the interaction of light and sound waves. This work solves a long-standing problem of how to utilize this interaction in a robust manner on a silicon chip as the basis for powerful new signal-processing technologies.
The prevalence of silicon chips in today’s technology makes the new system particularly advantageous, the researchers note. “Silicon is the basis for practically all microchip technologies,” said Rakich, who is an assistant professor of applied physics and physics at Yale. “The ability to combine both light and sound in silicon permits us to control and process information in new ways that weren’t otherwise possible.”
Rakich said combining the two capabilities “is like giving a UPS driver an amphibious vehicle — you can find a much more efficient route for delivery when traveling by land or water.”